After an embarrassing mix-up over when to conduct the funeral rites of slain police sub-inspector Mallikarjun Bande, the State government buckled under pressure from the family and decided to hand over the body on Wednesday evening itself, allowing it to be transported to Gulbarga city on the same day.
At first, after Mr. Bande was declared dead in the early hours of Wednesday, and his body taken to Gandhi Hospital in Secunderabad for post-mortem, it was decided by the government to bring the body straight to Khajuri, Mr. Bande’s village, for a funeral with full State honours.
An announcement was also made that Home Minister K.J. George, Additional Director-General of Police M.N. Reddy and other officers would fly in a special chartered flight to Khajuri to participate in the last rites of Mr. Bande on Wednesday.
However, the government backtracked and bowed to the demand of a section of police personnel from Gulbarga and a few organisations that said the body should be brought to Gulbarga city and kept for “public darshan”.
Another announcement came from Bangalore, quoting Mr. George, that the body would be brought to Gulbarga on Thursday morning and after a public darshan, it would be taken to Khajuri for a funeral with full State honours.
The announcement also said Mr. George, Mr. Reddy and other senior police officers would be participating in the public darshan and would later accompany the body to Khajuri. Even as there were some murmurs of protests from pro-Kannada organisations over the delay in taking the body to Khajuri, the government made yet another announcement that the body would be handed over to the family on Wednesday itself, and that it would be brought to Gulbarga on Wednesday night and kept for public darshan at the police ground for one hour and then taken to Khajuri. It was only after the family, particularly Mallamma, Mr. Bande’s wife, lodged a strong protest with Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who had visited the morgue at Gandhi Hospital to pay his last respects to Mr. Bande that the plan changed. She said the delay in handing over the body was causing great anguish and demanded that the body be handed over to them to conduct the last rites at the earliest.
Mr. Kharge assured the family that he would speak to Mr. George and ensure that the body is handed over immediately. After about 30 minutes, police officers stationed near the morgue received a message asking them to hand over the body to the family immediately and to accompany them to Gulbarga city. Mr. George and other senior officers will arrive in Gulbarga on Thursday. If the family decides to conduct the funeral rites on Wednesday night itself, Mr. George will visit the family at Khajuri and offer his condolences on Thursday.
If his burial is on Wednesday, it would not be possible for the police to give full State honours; only a wreath would be placed on the body. If the funeral is conducted on Thursday, full State honours would be provided, a senior police official said.