In the absence of any provision for the disposal of unclaimed bodies, the police have to seek the assistance of charitable societies or NGOs. Taking this into account, the All India Pingalwara Charitable Society (AIPCS) has approached Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh for support, otherwise it would be considered a violation of human rights.
AIPCS president Dr Inderjit Kaur has written to the CM that the successive governments have failed to share the liability of disposing the unclaimed bodies. “It is pity that in the absence of any concrete policy, it becomes the sole liability of the Police Department and the investigative officers have to spend from their own pockets or depend on NGOs to conduct the process till cremation of the body,” she said.
“Many a time, policemen come to us for assistance whenever they come across such a case. Suppose, a beggar dies in a street. It becomes the liability of the police to transport the body to the morgue. If a postmortem is requisite, the investigating officers have to shell out money to arrange bottles for holding the viscera. After that, they have to make arrangement for the cremation of the body. The reason being that there is no provision of funds with the police for the whole process,” she said.
Admitting the lapse, Police Commissioner SS Srivastava said it would be desirable to have a structured system to tackle such cases. “As of now, we do seek the help of Pingalwara or Red Cross Society and some part of it is taken care of by us. But, if the government reserves some fund for this, it will be better,” he said.
Meanwhile, Inderjit Kaur has also sought reservation for the Pingalwara inmates. She has approached the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Women and Child Development. “In Pingalwara, we have 104 (37 boys and 67 girls) orphaned or abandoned children. They are getting education up to the level of postgraduation including vocational training. But there is no reservation for them. Also for their education, we have to pay full fee as applicable to the general category. To make them productive member of mainstream society, there is urgency to have special protection for them on the pattern of what is extended to reserved categories,” she says.
Citing a survey, she said that there were over 2.5 crore orphaned or abandoned children in India for a small period or permanently of parental care for multiple reasons including the death, illness, national calamities of parents. Only 10 per cent will be the fortunate enough to be taken care of by various orphanages, whereas rest of them become victims of child abuse, child trafficking, street begging or rag pickers’ mafia.