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Dignified disposal sought for hundreds of unidentified bodies in Manipur mortuaries

By Our Representative 

Top women’s rights group, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), has sought urgent intervention of Union home minister Amit Shah for quick and dignified disposal of “several decaying dead bodies reported to be lying unidentified and unclaimed in several mortuaries in Manipur.”
In a representation to the Union home minister, Annie Raja, general secretary, and Nisha Siddhu, national secretary, NFIW, demanded constitution of a medical board headed by an independent forensic expert to conduct post-mortem on such dead bodies, many of whom remain “unidentified”, and are “lying in the morgues.”
Insisting on urgency, the NFIW leaders said, this should be done “before pieces of evidence are destroyed”, even as insisting on the allocation “necessary resources to ensure that hospitals in Manipur have access to adequate cold storage facilities” for such dead bodies.
Insisting that “it is essential to provide a dignified resting place for the deceased, allowing their families to mourn and perform the last rites with the respect and solemnity they deserve”, the representation said, as of today, “Families of persons who are missing and feared dead are unable to reach the mortuaries.”
Hence, the State should “designate an officer who can be contacted and who will facilitate visits by such families to mortuaries under escort/protection and enable the process of identification and handing over of dead bodies”, the rights group said.
At the same time, demanding “safe passage of the families of the deceased to Manipur, enabling them to claim the bodies of their loved ones and perform the necessary and dignified last rites”, NFIW said, “It is of significant importance that the bereaved families have the opportunity to bid farewell to their loved ones swiftly and safely and arranged by the state.”
The NFIW-led recent controversial visit to Manipur on a fact-finding mission to investigate the outbreak of violence in Manipur on 3 May 2023, and the unimaginable devastation and displacement of thousands that followed, recently led a desperate state officialdom to file FIR against the women’s group leaders for “causing” communal disharmony.
Claimed NFIW, “Hundreds dead and numerous decaying dead bodies lying unclaimed in several mortuaries across Manipur since first week of May 2023”, adding, lack of cold storage facilities in hospitals has “exacerbated the anguish of grieving families who are unable to bury their loved ones to rest with dignity.”

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