The villagers refused to touch him in abhorrence and did not come to help in the funeral, says Sanjib Kumar Sahoo, son of the deceased.
Bhubaneswar: In what appears to be an inhuman act, villagers of Basudebpalli village under Manamunda panchayat of Odisha’s Boudh district, on Wednesday refused to carry the body of a leprosy affected person for the funeral.
According to reports, when family members of the deceased requested the villagers to help them carry the dead body for conduct of rituals, none of them lent a hand.
With no option, the family including son, son-in-law and even the daughter of the deceased carried their father on their shoulders to reach the funeral ground for last rites.
“The villagers refused to touch him in abhorrence and did not come to help in the funeral. The three of us carried the body and conducted the last rites. The sarapanch gave Rs 2,000 for the funeral,” said Sanjib Kumar Sahoo, son of the deceased.
“My father was undergoing treatment at Manamunda Hospital. Even when he was alive, villagers used to hate my father as he was afflicted with leprosy,” said the deceased’s daughter Manjurani Sahoo.
“All government efforts to sensitise the rural mass on leprosy and social taboos surrounding it seem to have yielded no results. Denial of the villagers to carry the body of the leprosy affected patient is really unfortunate,” said noted Gandhian leader Gouranga Charan Rout.