Bihar: A woman’s body was carried by relatives in Bihar after they were refused an ambulance at a government hospital on Tuesday – another example of dignity denied in death, which was brought to the nation’s attention in stark images last year of Odisha tribal Dana Majhi walking with his wife’s body on his shoulder.
Shyama Devi, the 30-year-old wife of Suresh Mandal, a labourer in Muzaffarpur, was admitted to hospital on February 18 with chest pain. On Tuesday night, her health worsened and she was moved to the ICU, where she died, Civil Surgeon Lalita Singh told the Press Trust of India.
Suresh Mandal reportedly requested the hospital to provide him with an ambulance to carry his wife’s body home. He had hardly any money left after her treatment to hire a private one.
The hospital reportedly refused. Suresh Mandal, with help from a relative, then carried the body in a cloth and walked for about a km to their village.
The Civil Surgeon said she was told there was no driver in the hospital and that was why the request for an ambulance was denied.
“I have asked for an investigation into the incident,” Dr Singh said.
The story finds echoes in a string of incidents that have jolted the nation in the past few months.
In August, Dana Majhi had to walk 10 km in Odisha’s Kalahandi – one of the poorest districts in India – with his wife’s stiff body on his shoulder because there was no hearse available at the hospital where she died.
After the heartbreaking image was seared in national memory, there were more instances of people being forced to find different ways of carrying home their dead relatives.
In January, another man in Odisha walked from a hospital with his five-year-old daughter’s body for a km before finding transport to go home to his village and perform last rites.
In February, a father in Karnataka barely had time to grieve before he was forced to carry his 20-year-old daughter’s body from the hospital to his village on a moped, her uncle keeping her upright.
(With Inputs From PTI)