BARGARH :Social stigma did not spare Pardhan family of Baipali village under Sohela block in the district even in death. The villagers did not come forward to carry the body of a woman, whose husband, they said, was afflicted with leprosy. The woman’s two daughters played the role of pall-bearers.
Sources said Dei Pradhan (70) died of old age-related problems on Monday. Dei’s husband, who was afflicted with leprosy, had left the village about 25 years ago to protect his family from social stigma.
But his absence from the village failed to remove the fear from people’s minds.
After Dei died at 9 am on Monday, her daughters Chandrakanti (35) and Rechi (30) waited for over five hours for help to carry the body for cremation. Their maternal uncle, who resides in nearby Sarkanda village, too did not come for performing the last rites.
As no help arrived, Chandrakanti, her husband and sister carried the body to the cremation ground on an upturned charpoy, as per tradition, and consigned it to flames.
The lone support came from social worker Surendra Meher of Sarakanda, who visited Baipali on being informed and arranged for cremation. He also requested the villagers for help but in vain. His friend also called up the husband of Sarpanch Swarnakanti Barik but he too did not turn up.
The sisters, however, are unsure whether their father was afflicted by leprosy as they were too young when they had last seen him.
Sohela BDO Biswajit Mohapatra said the family has been provided with `2,000 under Harischandra Yojana and steps will be taken to provide all government welfare schemes to the unmarried daughter of Dei.