Odisha migrant worker carries wife's body on shoulder for kilometres, NHRC issues notice

Monday, 13 February 2023 (21:17 IST)
Kendrapara: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from the Odisha Chief Secretary (CS) over the incident of a poor migrant worker carrying the body of his wife on his shoulder from a neighbouring state to Koraput, his native place.
The Apex rights body on February 10 asked the Chief Secretary to submit the action taken report within four weeks.
The incident was a rerun of the infamous Dana Majhi incident of Kalahandi.
It's a really heart-wrenching incident, a proven, true valentine who not only loved but tried his level best to save her and finally carried his wife’s body on his shoulder from one state to another sans assistance.
Drawing the attention of the Apex Human Rights Panel of India, Human Rights Activist Radhakanta Tripathy, contended that a poor migrant worker Samulu Pangi on February 8 last carried the body of his wife Ide Guru (30) to reach his native place at Sorada village in Pottangi block in Odisha Koraput district to perform her last rites.
The sequence of events proves a violation of human rights, while alive but also rights after death, the petitioner stated.
Pangi had admitted his ailing wife at a hospital in Sangivalasa in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.
However, the doctors there said she was not responding to treatment and advised him to take her back home, around one hundred Kilometres away.
Even though he hired an Auto-rickshaw, the driver of the vehicle after some kilometres refused to move further. Finding no other way, Pangi carried his wife’s dead body on shoulder.

Due to lack of medical facilities at his native place, negligent behaviour at the hospital in Andhra Pradesh and language barrier for the Police, Pangi, the committed husband suffered immensely, the petition contended.
The government is to be held responsible for not taking adequate measures to help them in their distress.
Tripathy said the migrant labourers, who worked on very low wages, most of the time less than minimum wages, without any record of their employees lose their sources of livelihood due to lack of proper implementation of labour laws and its inspection and follow-up by the States and the Government of India.
Citing the incident as highly objectionable and violative of the fundamental rights of the citizen and gross failure of Governance due to insensitiveness and apathy of the State, Tripathy pointed out the facts reveal the naked truth of a defective society, economy, politics, and governance in remote areas and among the vulnerable people at large.
The petitioner highlighted issues concerning migrant workers from the State of Odisha and in particularfromKalahandi, Bolangir, Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Naupada, Nabarangpur, Baragarh, Jharsuguda and Gajapati to neighbouring states.
In another incident, a migrant worker from the Gajapati district suffered serious injuries when his hands were chopped off by the labour contractor.
Similar atrocities were faced by another migrant worker from Odisha’s Nuapada district whose fingers were chopped off by a contractor.
Citing incidents, Tripathy alleged that the poor and migrant labourers are facing rampant exploitation wherein their right to life and livelihood are being blatantly violated by the contractors/middlemen due shear negligence and prolonged inaction on part of State Authorities.
He has suggested some short term and long-term measures and sought the intervention of the Commission for appropriate legal action against perpetrators of such atrocities, delinquent public servants, compensation to the family members of the victims and preventive actions for addressing the issue of Migrant workers as per Law, Rules and Judicial Precedents. (UNI)

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