Matter of life and death in UP: The name is Sooka Devi and I am alive!

Six months after officials declared Sooka Devi 'dead', a 75-year-old woman has emerged to insist that she is indeed her. The onus of deciding on this matter of life and death now lies with the court.

Published: 25th July 2019 08:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2019 08:38 PM   |  A+A-

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For representational purposes (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: A curious case of alleged impersonation with an eye on land has come to light in Sant Kabir Nagar in eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Six months after government officials declared Sooka Devi 'dead' in the family register, a 75-year-old woman has emerged to insist that she is indeed her. The onus of deciding on this matter of life and death now lies with the court.

The drama unfolded with a protest on behalf of 'Sooka Devi' by relatives of Rumali, her sister, at the block development office on Monday.

This led to authorities deciding that a team of officials would visit the village, hold a meeting with villagers and decide if the woman was really dead or not.

When the officials reached the village, 'Sooka Devi' presented herself claiming that she was alive.  

But her nephew and other relatives claim that Sooka Devi is 'dead' and it was Rumali who was impersonating her in a bid to grab land.

Additional Development Officer (Panchayat) Ravindra Singh too refused to acknowledge the claim of the woman. He even refused to change her status in the documents without an order from the court.

The villagers remained adamant that Sooka Devi is alive and began protesting against this.

Subsequently, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) reached the village but a final decision on the woman’s status could not be taken, with officials going back unconvinced. Instead, they asked 'Sooka' to get a court order to substantiate that she was alive.

SDM Prem Prakash Anjor refused to comment on the issue saying the case was sub-judice, so it would not be proper to say anything on it. “If Sooka is alive, she will have to prove it in the court and get an order to us,” he said.

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