Mumbai cops get act together, 31 unclaimed bodies cleared in 4 days

After mid-day reported about how the police were delaying disposing of 129 unclaimed corpses in the city’s four state-run mortuaries, the cops got their act together to speed up the process; they said the entire lot will be cleared in a week

Mumbai Police have taken note of this paper’s report on 129 rotting bodies raising a stink at the four state-run mortuaries in the city. Thirty-one of the corpses, which had been lying in the centres for anywhere between 30 days and 10 months, were cleared in four days.

16 bodies from Bhagwati post-mortem centre have been taken care of; the facility had a backlog of 54 bodies, the maximum among all four state-run facilities in the city. File pic
16 bodies from Bhagwati post-mortem centre have been taken care of; the facility had a backlog of 54 bodies, the maximum among all four state-run facilities in the city. File pic

In a front-page report published on November 17, mid-day had highlighted that 129 unclaimed bodies had been lying in post-mortem centres at J J, Rajawadi, Bhagwati and Cooper hospitals. Besides emanating a foul stench, the bodies had crowded up the centres, leading the premises to become breeding grounds for disease, thus posing a health risk to the respective staff members.

mid-day’s front-page report on November 17
mid-day’s front-page report on November 17

According to a government resolution dated July 25, 1999, disposal of bodies is the responsibility of the police station under whose jurisdiction the morgue falls. The cops are supposed to complete the disposal within 3-5 days. If the investigating cops write a letter to the post-mortem centre, this period can be stretched to a maximum of 15 days.

Sources confirmed that the police had sped up the procedure to dispose of the remaining bodies, and that 31 bodies had been cleared since the issue came to the fore. Sixteen bodies from the Bhagwati post-mortem centre have been taken care of. The facility had a backlog of 54 bodies, the maximum among all four facilities. Five each from the other three centres were disposed.

Dhananjay Kamlakar, joint commissioner of police (law and order), confirmed the development, saying, “The entire lot would be cleared within seven days.”

‘Follow timeline’
After the report was published, Kamlakar immediately contacted senior police inspectors of the concerned police stations and directed them to expedite the process. “There are a couple of issues that are being faced. But we have given strict orders to follow the legal timeline from now on to dispose of unclaimed bodies,” said Kamlakar.

S M Patil, police surgeon, who visited the Bhagwati facility recently, said, “The unbearable stench was affecting our employees as well as the residents staying nearby. After mid-day’s report, the bodies are getting cleared like never before.”

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