Hospital workers in the East Indian state of Odisha are reported to have broken a dead woman's bones to make her easier to carry. The incident highlights the condition of health services in one of India's poorest states.
Media in India on Friday reported that two men in Odisha's Balasore district broke a dead body at the hip and the legs to be able to carry her easily. Videos circulating on social media showed two men carrying the bundled body tied to a bamboo pole.
Odisha's Human Rights Commission has ordered a probe into the incident.
The woman, an 85-year-old widow, Taramani Barik, died after she was run over by a train near Soro railway station in Balasore, Indian daily "Hindustan Times" reported. Doctors at the local hospital declared her dead.
Railway officials found no ambulance or vehicle to transport the corpse and asked two local sweepers for help. The men said the body had stiffened, so they broke the hip and leg bones, tied the body into a bundle and carried it over a bamboo pole from the hospital. The woman's son, Rabindra Barik, accused the police of negligence. "They should have shown some dignity. The sweepers who broke the bones should be punished," he told the "Hindustan Times."
The news comes a day after a video of an Odisha man carrying his dead wife went viral on social media. Dana Majhi's 42-year-old wife had died of tuberculosis at a hospital in Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi, one of India's most impoverished districts. Majhi alleged that despite all efforts, the hospital staff refused to provide him with a mortuary van to take his wife back to his village, Melghara, about 60 kilometers away.
Majhi wrapped his wife's body in a cloth and started walking towards his village with his 12-year-old daughter. Some reporters saw the man walking and reported the incident to the local administrative head, who arranged an ambulance. Unfortunately, Majhi had already walked 10 kilometers by then.
The state's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik called the incident "distressing" and announced a scheme for free transportation of bodies from government hospitals to the homes of the deceased.
According to latest figures by the World Bank, Odisha's southern and western districts are among the most impoverished in India. Around 33 percent of the state's 42 million inhabitants live below the poverty line.