Dead HIV undertrial's family meet top Goa official to claim body

Dead HIV undertrial's family meet top Goa official to claim body
Panaji: The family members of a HIV infected under-trial, who died in judicial custody in Panaji, got his body today after intervention of senior authorities of Goa.

The state administration had to hand over the body of John D'Souza, accused of sexually abusing minor boys, after his family met state chief secretary Sanjay Srivastava, who issued orders to this effect on Thursday night.

John's family members claimed that his body was not being handed over to them as post-mortem was to be conducted on it since John, who died on January 15 while being treated at Goa Medical college and hospital, was a HIV patient.

Prison authorities refused to hand over John's body to the relatives despite repetitive pleadings, they alleged.

The kin, along with NGO Positive People, approached the state chief secretary and briefed him about the alleged harassment.

They claimed that they had been asked to hop from one office to another under the pretext of formalities and clearances and were being harassed as John was an AIDS patient.

Positive People, working for the people living with HIV, termed the attitude of state administration as 'shocking'.

"It is indeed shocking that the district authorities have not been able to release the body and have caused unnecessary pain and harassment to the grieving family who just wants to give a decent and dignified funeral to their dear one," the NGO's letter to the chief secretary said.

D'Souza was kept in Sada sub-jail since his arrest in November 2009 for allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in his car.

The family members were asked to sign an affidavit stating that they have no suspicion on John's death before being handed over the body.