Widows leave world in gunny bags!

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Expressing “deep shock” over the bodies of Vrindavan widows being chopped into pieces after death as no funds were available to cremate them, the Supreme Court on Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure their last rites were done with dignity according to their religion.

“It is shocking,” a bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur said, referring to bodies of widows living in four government shelter homes in Vrindavan being disposed of in this manner. “The chief medical officer of the civil hospital (Mathura) is directed to ensure that the last rites of the deceased in shelter homes are performed as per their religion,” the court said in its order.

The “shocking” revelation was made by senior advocate L. Nageshwar Rao, counsel for National Legal Services Authority, who filed a PIL on the widows’ pathetic condition. “After death, they (widows) could not be cremated for lack of funds. The widows who die are cut into pieces and put in gunny bags and then disposed of,” he said.

The court issued a series of directions to provide them immediate relief — supplying proper food, mandatory visits by a team of doctors from the Mathura civil hospital twice a week and basic sanitation facilities in the shelter homes.

It also pulled up the National Commission for Women and the UP state women’s commission for “doing nothing” for the destitute women.

The bench urged the Centre to play a proactive role, noting “now at least channels of communications between the Centre and UP are open”, a clear reference to the political understanding between the UPA and the Samajwadi government in Uttar Pradesh.

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