“Octracised” man wheels kin’s body on bicycle to funeral ground: Odisha

Boudh, Bhubaneswar : A man in Odisha’s Boudh district ferried the body of his sister-in-law after fellow villagers allegedly refused to come forward for help.

The incident took place at Krushnapali village on Wednesday where 60-year-old Chaturbhuja Banka lay the mortal remains of his sister-in-law tied to a wooden crossbar below the bicycle handle and feet tied-up on the carriage behind. Banka then  wheeled the blanket-covered body single-handedly  to the funeral ground with onlookers cold shouldering the incident.

Banka’s wife and sister-in-law Pancha Mahakud(40)were both admitted to a civil hospital in Boudh following severe diarrhoea.

Pancha died Wednesday and the body was transported to Banka’s home under state government’s “Mahaprayana scheme” that provides free hearse service from hospital to home and only that.

According to reports people in the village stayed away as Banka was under “undeclared ostracisation” for marrying a second time into a different caste.

Another version has it that Banka, a farm labourer, had snapped ties with his family members following a property dispute and failed to get cooperation from villagers on petty issues involved in the matter.

The village ward member Kailash Pradhan however claims that he along with some others went to Banka’s house to arrange for woman’s last rites but waited for her children living far away to arrive. Banka in the meantime, ferried the body to the funeral ground on cycle, he said.

A sum or Rs 10,000 was given to Banka from the Red Cross for his wife’s hospital care.

The Sarpanch of Brahmanipali panchayat, Sushma Bagh said an amount of Rs. 2,000 has been paid to Bank for cremation in keeping with the “Harishchandra scheme”.

State BJP unit reacted to the incident calling the ruling BJD government “inefficient, inert and insensitive “ to the poor and said despite tall claims of progress the state still was “witnessing evil practice of ostracisation”.

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