Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Dharmagarh, Sep 24:
The insensitivity of residents of a nondescript village in Odisha’s Kalahandi district has appalled many as four sisters today carried their mother’s body to the cremation ground and performed the last rights after neighbours did not turn up.
According to reports, the deceased Kanak Satapathy from Dokaripada village under Golamunda block in the district died late last night due to illness. The grief-stricken family waited for the neighbours to come forward to help them perform the last rites of the 75-year-old widowed woman.
When no one came to their help, the four daughters were forced to perform the role of pallbearers and took the body on an inverted cot to the cremation ground. The bereaved girls also lit the funeral pyre, defying the age-old tradition.
The incident has made a mockery of the Harischandra Yojana, a scheme to provide assistance to poor and destitute to perform last rites.
Of the four girls, three girls are widowed and the other one is deserted by her husband.
Sources said that the villagers chose to turn a blind eye as the family’s financial fragility.
It may be mentioned here that a similar incident had come to the fore earlier in April this year in Bargarh district where two daughters carried their mother’s body for cremation. In this case also, villagers did not co-operated with them for the last rites. The reason: the husband of the deceased was diagnosed with leprosy following which he had left the village over a decade ago. Since then, the villagers had ostracized the family.