State apathy: Karimnagar authorities bury unclaimed body in local dump yard

The 20-year-old was killed in a road accident on May 29 but the body could not be identified, so his relatives came to know about the incident only a few days later.
State apathy: Karimnagar authorities bury unclaimed body in local dump yard
State apathy: Karimnagar authorities bury unclaimed body in local dump yard
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In what can only be termed as gross negligence, the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation buried an accident victim’s body in a local dump yard after the body lay unclaimed for five days in the government hospital mortuary.

The case came to light after the relatives of the victim filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) alleging negligence in dealing with the dead body.

In a video that was accessed by The New Indian Express reporter Rajitha Sanaka, sanitation workers can be seen digging up the body of the victim from amidst the garbage piles. The video was shot by the victim’s kin who was taken by the municipal corporation authorities to the dump yard to retrieve the body.

The 20-year-old victim had met with a road accident on May 29 while on his way from Karimnagar to Hyderabad. Due to lack of any ID proof, the body was not identified and the victim’s relatives came to know about the incident only a few days later and learnt that the body was taken away by the corporation.

When contacted, the district commissioner of Karimnagar, K Shashanka, said that an internal enquiry has been ordered and the authority concerned has been asked to submit a report on the issue. 

Giving a rather flimsy excuse, the commissioner said that the ‘confusion’ arose as there is a very thin boundary wall between the corporation cemetery and the local dump yard that are located beside each other.

Speaking to TNM, the victim’s cousin CN Reddy, who approached the SHRC with the complaint, said the family didn’t know about the death on the same day.

“We were inquiring about him and learnt that the body was taken by the corporation. The body was taken to the Karimnagar Government Hospital mortuary where it was kept for five days. As no one came forward to claim the body, the hospital handed it over to the Karimnagar Municipal Corporation. We came to know about the death only on June 5 and were horrified when the authorities took us to the dump yard to exhume the body.”

Condemning the commissioner’s reasoning about how the negligence happened, Reddy says that it is true to an extent because the corporation’s cemetery lies in an utter state of neglect making it indistinguishable from the dump yard.

Sanitation workers retrieving the body from the dump yard.

Meanwhile, questioning the gross negligence by the authorities, human rights activists slammed the commissioner’s insensitive comments on the issue.

VS Krishna, an HRF activist, says, “This is an absolute violation and disrespect of human rights. How can the corporation carelessly dump a body into a garbage pile especially when the victim has died under suspicious circumstances? They need to come out and say clearly if the hospital authorities had conducted a post-mortem and ascertained the cause of death.”

Talking to TNM, P Srinivas Rao from the State Human Rights Commission said, “The corporation did not file a missing person’s complaint at the Karimnagar police station nor they did they issue a look out notice for the victim. This negligence led to an inordinate delay in finding the victim and retrieving the body.”

The SHRC has sought a report from the Karimnagar police commissioner and district collector by September 20.

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