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Updated: August 4, 2012 02:54 IST

Ensure at least proper last rites to Vrindavan widows: Supreme Court

J. Venkatesan
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A majority of the widows living in Vrindavan are above 60 years of age, and they come from across the social spectrum. Photo: V. V. Krishnan
A majority of the widows living in Vrindavan are above 60 years of age, and they come from across the social spectrum. Photo: V. V. Krishnan

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed shock at the inhuman disposal of the bodies of widows, who lived in government shelter homes at Vrindavan, by chopping them into pieces on the plea of lack of money for proper cremation.

A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur directed the Uttar Pradesh government to at least ensure that proper last rites were performed to ‘Vrindavan widows’ as per their religion.

“The Chief Medical Officer of the civil hospital [Mathura] is directed to ensure that the last rites of the deceased in the shelter homes are performed as per their religion.”

Senior counsel L. Nageswar Rao, appearing for the National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa), which had filed a public interest litigation petition on the pathetic conditions of the widows, told the court: “After death, they could not be cremated for lack of funds. The widows who die are cut into pieces and put in gunny bags and then disposed of.”

The Bench also gave directions for providing Vrindavan widows immediate relief, including supply of proper food, mandatory visits by a team of doctors from the Mathura civil hospital twice a week and ensuring basic sanitation in the shelter homes.

The court pulled up the National Commission for Women and the Uttar Pradesh State Women’s Commission for “doing nothing” for the destitute women except preparing some reports about their pathetic conditions.

Centre should play proactive role

It wanted the Centre to play a proactive role in the matter. “Now at least channels of communications between the Centre and U.P. are open, which were jammed [earlier during the Mayawati regime],” the Bench observed in a lighter vein.

The Environmental and Consumer Protection Foundation, an NGO, also filed a PIL petition for providing basic minimum facilities to the destitute women.

The Bench asked the Nalsa counsel to contact the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Sulabh International, an NGO, which had set up public toilets all over the country, to find out whether they could come forward to help the 1,790-odd widows living in deplorable conditions in the four government shelters at Vrindavan.

While millions of people suffering without proper food, clean water, shelter and clothes, billions of public fund go to private pockets through curruption. Nevertheless our political leaders claim that our democratic system is a great success. It is so sad to see the pathetic plight of Vrindavan Widows. They were denying proper last rites even after their death by burying them like animals. In most of the developed countries governments look after the elderly people by providing them a decent pension, free bus pass etc. The consecutive governments ruled our country only tried to fill their pockets without giving proper attention to the basic needs of common citizen. Just before declaring election they try to lure the public announcing freebies to achieve immence gains. A radical change to our democratic system is imminent to make our governments to be more responsible and accountable to the public.

from:  Rajesh P R
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 23:09 IST

This is utter disgrace for India! And the govt has the audacity to launch an expensive vanity project like Mars mission when it can't even provide a decent last rites to these wretched women who have been treated like garbage all their lives! Just reading this article makes my stomach churn and hang my head in shame!

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 22:46 IST

While mllions of people suffering without proper food, clean water, clothes and shelter, billions of public fund goes to private pockets in the way of curruption. Nevertheless our poltical leaders claim that our democratic system is a great success. It is so sad to see the pathetic plight of Vrindavan widows. They were even denying proper last rites by burying just like animals. In most of the developed countries, Government look after the elderly people by providing them a decent pension, free bus pass etc. The consecutive governments ruled our country only tried to fill their pockets without giving any attention to the basic needs of common citizen and just before declaring Election they start announcing free bees to achieve immence gains. A radical change to our democratic system is imminent to make our governments to be more responsible and accountable to the public.

from:  Rajesh P R
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 22:42 IST

In a nation of 120 crores, where an ordinary MLA moves with a cavalcade of 10 SUV's, where sportsperson earns crores, where rich people spend crores on horses, but to arrange for the last rites of a fellow human being, there is no money. Neither in Govt. coffers nor any sympathy in the hearts of the citizens of our country.

from:  Rohit T.
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 13:40 IST

When court has to step in, while politician are sleeping. This is the
biggest bad luck of our demo"N"cracy. What happen to the country who
had great rulers and a great culture. Are we so cheap that we cann't
provide 3 time food, few clothes, a home and a decent death.

from:  bharat
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 13:17 IST

Either an industrial house or religion-oriented party should build and donate an electric crematorium and absorb the yearly expenditure for its maintenance.

from:  Raju Alagarsamy
Posted on: Aug 4, 2012 at 10:00 IST
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