In a heartbreaking incident in Karnataka, which has invited the ire of several people, a local journalist who died in an accident near Gunduru village in Hangal taluk was taken to the hospital in a garbage van. Mounesh Potharaj was going home on a bike after completing an assignment, when his two-wheeler hit a tree on Sunday, January 14.
The 28-year-old is said to have died on the spot and the police took his body to the hospital in the garbage van. A case was registered after the video went viral on social media and several users lashed out at the police for not calling an ambulance.
The Karnataka State Working Journalists Union too condemned the act and said it was disrespectful. "It's an inhumane act by police, who were supposed to arrange an ambulance or body carrier by calling the health department or district administration," the Times of India quoted said Ningappa Chavadi, president of the Haveri district unit of Karnataka State Working` Journalists Union, as saying.
"But they used a garbage van to transport the body to hospital. We strongly condemn it and will hold a protest soon."
The police insensitivity has grabbed the eyes of several others and Potharaj's family too has slammed the police for not calling an ambulance. "When we objected to police carrying Mounesh's body in a garbage vehicle, they didn't listen to us. They shouldn't use such vehicles to shift anyone's body," the deceased's uncle added.
However, the police tried to clear the air and said that they couldn't find any other vehicle due to the festival rush and had no other choice. Haveri SP K Parashuram said that ambulances often do not carry dead bodies and the police usually use private vehicles for the purpose. But that day, these vehicles too weren't available.
If that wasn't enough, authorities performed the autopsy only when the family begged them to. "When we pleaded, they performed the autopsy but were not willing to release my brother's body until we paid Rs 700 bribe. This is the treatment we faced in a situation when everyone in my family was already devastated by the loss of my brother's life," the 28-year-old's brother told the News Minute.
An inquiry has now been ordered in the matter and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted that action would be taken against those involved.