Panchayat officials say they had no alternative vehicle
A town panchayat that was tasked with burying the unclaimed body of a septuagenarian, took it to the burial ground in a tricycle used for transporting garbage, setting off a social media flutter. The local body defended itself by stating it had no alternative vehicle for the purpose.
Rajaraman, 70, was living by the road near the Sholinghur post office for many years. “He used to beg, and sleep near the shops. On March 27, he was found dead by the road. Based on a complaint from village administrative officer Yuvaraj, we registered a case,” said a policeman attached to the Sholinghur station.
“His uncle’s daughter came from Chennai and identified him. But she said she could not afford to arrange a burial, and left,” he added.
Mr. Yuvaraj said, “I conducted an inquiry and found he had no kith or kin. So I lodged a complaint with the police. Till now no family member has approached the revenue officials seeking information about him.”
The Sholinghur police then petitioned the Sholinghur town panchayat to bury Rajaraman.
The panchayat officials engaged a sanitary worker to transport the body to the burial ground in a tricycle used for collecting garbage. A video and photograph of the body being taken in the tricycle is circulating on social media. “We do not have a separate vehicle for this purpose,” an officer of the panchayat said.
However, a social activist pointed out that the State government’s free hearses were available at the government hospitals in Arakkonam and Walajah and the town panchayat could have utilised the service.