In a shocking incident, a man allegedly had to carry his 18-year-old brother’s body on a bicycle due to absence of a motorable road Majuli island in Assam’s Brahmaputra area, according to a reports. The incident came to the notice after a video of the incident surfaced. It has been learned that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has expressed concern and directed officials to conduct an inquiry, according to a report. Notably, Majuli is the constituency which is being represented by Chief Minister Sonowal, according to Indian Express report.
The video footage shows a boy using a cycle to carry his brother’s body. He was crossing a bamboo bridge, which is the only link between his village, Luit Khabalu, and the mainland. Ambulances cannot travel due to the absence of a concrete bridge in the area, officials said. The boy was taking his brother’s body home from the hospital to perform last rites, they said. Sonowal directed the Director of Health Services to rush to the village and conduct an inquiry, officials said.
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The incident reminds us of a similar incident that took place last year in Odisha. A tribal man had to walk 10 km carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder in Odisha’s Kalahandi after failing to get a vehicle from a government hospital.
The incident took place when locals had found Dana Majhi carrying his wife Amang Dei’s body along with his 12-year-old daughter. The 42-year-old woman had died of TB at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna. Majhi had claimed that despite all efforts, he failed to get any help from hospital authorities and had no other alternative than to wrap the body in sheets of cloth and start walking to his village Melghara in Rampur block, about 60 km from Bhawanipatna.
District officials, however, claimed an ambulance was sent for transportation of the body of Majhi’s wife to their village as soon as the authorities concerned came to know about it. Unfortunately, the man had by then covered a distance of around 10 km, the minister said, adding “appropriate action would be taken after the inquiry report is submitted”.
When Majhi and his daughter were walking, some local reporters spotted the duo. They called up the District Collector and arranged for an ambulance for the remaining 50 km.
“I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and can’t afford a vehicle. Despite repeated requests, they said they can’t offer any help,” Majhi told a local television channel. “As we got to know of the incident, we spoke to the Chief District Medical Officer and arranged for an ambulance,” Kalahandi District Collector Brundha D said.
“I have instructed the Tehsildar to provide assistance under Harishchandra Yojana (assistance to the poor and destitute to perform last rites). I have also asked the BDO to provide assistance from Red Cross and CMRF,” she said.
(With agency inputs)