Tension over body of tribesman in Wayanad

Body of Gopalan kept at Arimula hamlet on Tuesday.  

The death of a 60-year-old tribesman led to tense moments in a Paniya tribal hamlet at Arimula, near Kenichira in Wayanad district, on Tuesday.

Gopalan of Palnada tribal settlement at Arimula died at a private medical college hospital at Meppadi in the district on Sunday morning after being stung by a swarm of bees.

Gopalan was stung by bees at Mangod Vayal, near Arimula, on Saturday morning while going to a nearby farm. He was rushed to the taluk hospital at Sulthan Bathery, and later to the medical college hospital.

When the body was shifted back to the taluk hospital for a post-mortem examination, it could not be performed since the forensic surgeon was on leave. Subsequently, the body was sent to Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kozhikode, on Monday evening after the kin were informed of the same.

‘Blatant disregard’

By the time the body was shifted to an ambulance, it had started to decay as it “was not kept in freezer at the hospital,” Babu of the hamlet, who accompanied the body in the ambulance, alleged.

On the way to the MCH, they were forced to slide down the window glasses of the vehicle as the body started to smell, he added. “Had the hospital authorities informed us earlier, we could have shift the body to MCH on Sunday itself,” he added.

Later, the relatives left to Wayanad in the ambulance after keeping the body in the morgue of the MCH. The post-mortem examination was finally conducted on Tuesday morning at MCH.

The police and Scheduled Tribes Development Department officials reached the settlement on Tuesday morning with an ambulance to take the kin to the MCH to collect the body after post-mortem examination. But the tribespeople said the vehicle was too small and demanded a bigger ambulance with freezer facility.

When the relatives refused to go along with the officials, the latter brought the body to the hamlet in the evening on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an irate mob detained some department officials who reached the hamlet, alleging that they had shown disrespect to the body. Finally, the body was cremated at a crematorium of tribal people at Thoothiyeri, near Kenichira.

However, District Medical Officer R. Renuka told The Hindu that the hospital authorities had never shown disrespect to the body and the allegations were baseless. The body was kept in freezer after it arrived in the taluk hospital, Dr. Renuka said, adding that the body was sent to MCH since two forensic surgeons in the district were on leave on the day.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:31:17 PM |

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