-- ``did not find priest to perform the last rites’’

Unable to arrange for a priest from his sect to perform the last rites before burial, Naveen Horo -- father of the 10-year-old Jharkhand girl, Jyoti, who disappeared on April 11 from her home along with a friend and died on April 16 at a city hospital here – returned with her body to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences mortuary on Friday evening after waiting at the cemetery for over three hours.

“As if the death of my child were not enough, today I have seen how heartless Delhi can be. I waited with my child’s body for over three hours at a cemetery but we simply could not find a priest from my sect who would be willing to perform the last rites. So we brought her back to AIIMS and I hope to bury my child on Saturday now,” said a broken and tired Mr. Horo.

“I am so emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted that I can’t even cry any more. Just about two weeks ago my young daughter Jyoti was an ordinary girl in our village in Jharkhand who was busy with her school, playing with her friends and doing all the regular things that is expected of a child. Today, I stood with her body hoping to bury her and fate did not even allow me to do that in peace. Also I still don’t know what killed my child. I am probably the most unfortunate father in the entire world,” said Mr. Horo.

While the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences is yet to submit its post-mortem report, Jyoti is to be now cremated on Saturday, far away from her home and in the presence of only her father from her family.

“I saw my daughter’s body today and it was in no condition to be taken back to the village. I then decided that it would be best if I cremate her in Delhi, but fate willed otherwise. My young daughter died alone without her family around her and now she will be cremated with only me here,” he added.

Besides his daughter, who he has already lost, Mr. Horo is now worried about the future of his other children. He has to return to his village this Sunday where he will wait for the post-mortem report.

“I am a daily wage earner and have four more children -- two boys and two girls -- who I need to support. One of my daughters is mentally challenged and needs sustained medical attention. I now appeal to the State government to give me a permanent job to help provide for my family so that my other children don’t face the same problem as Jyoti,” said Mr. Horo.

Stating that he had no clue about Jyoti’s intention to come to Delhi, Mr. Horo says that he met Chandumani -- the woman who brought Jyoti and her friend (who later died in Jharkhand) to Delhi – “and asked her as to why she did this to us. She did not give any answer. But now I have lost my child and till now the police do not know what caused her death,” said Mr. Horo.

Rishi Kant from NGO Shakti Vahini, who first reported about the death of the girl and demanded that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights look into the case, said: “The father is shocked and is grief-stricken with the death and the events. We have now (late Friday evening) been able to arrange for a priest who will be able to perform the last rites for the child on Saturday.”

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