Kashmir sans preservation facility for dead

Valley’s Only Mortuary Demolished 2 Months Back


Srinagar, May 4: In a place where thin line holds normalcy and unclaimed bodies turn up routinely, Jammu and Kashmir Police as well as the state’s health department lack preservation facilities (Emblem) for unclaimed bodies.
Ironically, the police department even demolished the building which used to house the only mortuary in the Valley. The ‘Emblem’, where bodies are preserved is also not functioning from the last one year.
“Recently additional deputy Commissioner Ganderbal wrote to us for the preservation of a dead body. But we could not accomplish his plea as the preserver is not functioning since a year. It was not the only case in which we have failed to comply. There have been scores of such cases where we expressed our helplessness,” said a doctor at J&K police hospital wishing not to be named.
Officials at the Police hospital also said that the only mortuary of the department was demolished around two months back.
Interestingly, advocate Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, counsel for the family of deceased National Conference (NC) activist, Syed Muhammad Yousuf Shah alias Haji Yousuf had also visited the Police control room and had intended to visit the mortuary.
“I intended to visit the mortuary where the post-mortem of the deceased was reportedly conducted and found the building demolished. The building has been demolished despite the fact that the mortuary rooms and the place were the post-mortem of the deceased was conducted are of vital importance as evidence in the Haji Yousuf death case,” Dar said.
In the case of deceased Engineer Jagdeep Singh, a Srinagar based Sikh organization, APSCC had also protested against the lack of mortuary and forensic laboratory. “Lack of high-tech forensic laboratory and mortuary is shocking for the people of Kashmir Valley, as it has always hampers preservation of dead bodies which are key to fact-finding in cases of murder or other similar crimes,” said APSCC chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina.
Taking to Greater Kashmir, Dr Shafi, Medical Superintendent, Police Hospital said, “It is true that preserver is not functioning from some time. Mortuary was demolished and new building is under construction.”
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Farooq Ahmed who is supervising the postmortem related affairs in Srinagar said that they have two room postmortem facilities in JLNM but said that they do not have any Emblem (preservation facilities for bodies). “It was actually in police control room. In 2007 it was proposed that health department should have also one. A mortuary is almost complete near Panthachowk bus terminal,” he said.
On the question of preservation facilities, he said, “we don’t have any preservation facilities for dead bodies. We only do post-mortem.  Actually police department has given us these instruments for the preservation, but they did not handover us the formalin infusing machine which prevents decomposition. Now we have purchased our own machine for it.”
Contrary to the common notion that medical college is the authority for keeping dead bodies and post-mortem, Principal, medical College, Dr Qazi Masood said; “We are not the official agency for the post-mortem of dead bodies. We do it on humanitarian grounds. Yes we do keep some bodies for the practical work of our students.”
The larger question remains on the credibility of the investigations carried on the dead bodies and fate of unclaimed bodies.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 5 May 2012 00:00:00 IST

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