Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has cremated 28 unclaimed bodies of the survivors of three train accidents in Odisha’s Balasore region four months ago, officials said.
Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Mayor Sulochana Das said, “The cremation of the bodies of the unclaimed dead in the train accident started on Tuesday evening. All the work was completed by 8 am on Wednesday. Women volunteers volunteered to cremate the bodies themselves. The women did not even know the religion of the deceased, whether they were male or female. Don’t know.The bodies were preserved for more than four months and turned like ice.All the bodies were cremated by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation at the Bhubaneswar Crematorium.
Madhusmita Presti, Smita Mohanty and Swagathika Rao, who performed the last rites for the first three bodies, said, “We came forward to do this sacred thing for the unidentified bodies in the name of our own free will. They might have been ours in previous lives.” Rao said, “There were so many bodies that the dead could not even be identified as male or female. Above all, they were human beings. They were cremated with all due respect.” An NGO had taken up the task of collecting the bones of the dead and dissolving them in water.
The unclaimed bodies of those who died in the three-train collision near Pahanaka Bazar in Balasore district on June 2 were kept at the Bhubaneswar AIIMS hospital. AIIMS medical officials handed over the bodies to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation in the presence of CBI officials investigating the accident.
All the bodies were cremated as per the guidelines of the State Government, Central Government and National Human Rights Commission. A senior PMC official said that all the incidents of handing over the bodies for cremation have been videotaped. Also, he said, the DNA of the bodies is preserved for investigation and to answer any legal problems later.
For four months no one came to ask for 28 bodies. May come later. So, keeping in mind the legal issues, we preserve the DNA of the dead,” said AIIMS head of anatomy. Pravas Tripathi said.
In a statement issued by the Bhubaneswar AIIMS management, “On the night of June 4, 123 bodies arrived at the hospital. Later, 39 bodies which were kept in general hospitals and private hospitals were brought here. Out of them, 81 bodies were identified by the relatives. And 53 bodies were confirmed through DNA and handed over to the relatives. The remaining 28 bodies were unclaimed. They were handed over to the PMC on October 10 for conducting the last rites,” it said.
On June 2, the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express collided with a freight train standing on the track at Bahanaka Bazar area of Odisha’s Balasore district. At that time, the last coaches of Bengaluru-Howrah express train which was coming in the opposite direction got derailed due to an accident. 295 people died in this tragic accident. More than 1,100 people were injured.