The corpse of a farmer in Bihar village was carried to the bank by his neighbours to demand money for his cremation, the police said on Thursday.
Mahesh Yadav, 55, died early Tuesday after a lengthy illness, leaving no family. His body was found by neighbours several hours later, officials told AFP.
The villagers searched his home for valuables to pay for his funeral, but unable to find any, they instead took his bank passbook that showed he had rupees 1,17,298.28 ($1,600) in his account.
That afternoon, they took the passbook -- and Yadav's corpse -- to his bank, refusing to leave until the branch manager released his funds, local police officer Amrendar Kumar said.
"Villagers demanded the bank gave them money from his account for the cremation or else they would not cremate him," Mr Kumar told AFP.
"It put pressure on the bank, which finally released some money following the intervention of the local police station."
Canara Bank's branch manager Sanjeev Kumar said the extraordinary scenes created panic.
"It was the first such case," Mr Kumar told AFP.
"After over an hour, I gave them money ($135) and they finally left the bank with his body for the cremation ground."
Neighbour Shakuntala Devi said Yadav did not own any land and did not receive any support from the government.
"There was no-one to look after him although he had been ailing for months. We used to provide him cooked food and other things," she told AFP.