- Dana Majhi said he could not get any help from hospital authorities.
- He wrapped his wife's body in cloth and started walking to his village.
- His daughter accompanied him till some local reporters spotted the duo.
Dana Majhi had no vehicle to take home his wife's body after she died of tuberculosis at a government hospital in Kalahandi, about 60 km from his village. He says he pleaded for a vehicle, but was refused one.
So he wrapped his 42-year-old wife Amang Dei's body in a sheet, hoisted it on his shoulder and began to walk home. His daughter walked by his side, holding a bag with their meagre belongings, weeping.
"I told the hospital authorities that I am a poor man and cannot afford a vehicle. I kept requesting them but they said they could not help," Mr Majhi said to a television crew that found him after he had walked about 10 km with the body.
The TV crew reportedly called up a senior officer and arranged an ambulance for the remaining journey to Mr Majhi's village.
Kalahandi's District Collector Brunda D has alleged that Mr Majhi left the hospital in the middle of the night without informing anyone. "If he had asked for help, we would have provided it," she said adding that the administration has now offered him help with the funeral under a government scheme.
Odisha had also launched the "Mahaparayana" scheme in February, offering to transport bodies from government hospitals free of charge, but that service was not available to Mr Majhi.
Today Baijayant Jay Panda, Member of Parliament of the state's ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), tweeted that the scheme is being expanded.
[1/2] Despite much progress in Odisha's health sector, y'day news of a man carrying his wife's body for more than 10km was awful. Meantime..- Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) August 25, 2016
The Naveen-Patnaik-led BJD government has been severely criticised. "It is cruelty ...there is no dignity of life," said the Odisha BJP's Bijoy Mahapatra, lamenting the lack of health services in the state.
[2/2] A plan had been in the works, today CM @Naveen_Odisha launched "Mahaprayana" scheme w/12 hearses for dist hospitals. Will be expanded- Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) August 25, 2016
On Twitter, people shared the heartbreaking video of Mr Majhi walking with his wife's body and called it "India's shame."
Heart bleeds "Man carrying wife's body after he was denied a mortuary van in Odisha, daughter along cries" pic.twitter.com/pefoO36tN5- Pinky Rajpurohit (@Madrassan) August 25, 2016
Too shame and cruel - this is not Humanity. Shame for the governance and doubt why the governments keep people in... https://t.co/MsHOOBtzJq- Aneeshkumar (@aneeshaswa) August 25, 2016
# The pic of a man carrying his dead wife's body for 10 Km in Odisha with his teenage daughter made very sad viewing. Is humanity dead ?- K.R.Prithvi Raj (@KRPrithviRaj) August 25, 2016