LUCKNOW: Already grieving at the loss of their sole breadwinner, this Gorakhpur family's ordeal was not over. As the cost of bringing back Sunil's body from Delhi was beyond their means amid the lockdown, they were forced to perform a symbolic cremation, with his one-year-old son made to light the funeral pyre of a dummy.
As word spread, UP CM Yogi Adityanath took cognizance of the incident which took place at Dumrikhurd village under Chauri Chaura police station on April 17 and got in touch with authorities in Delhi urging them to make arrangements to ferry the body to Gorakhpur. The district administration is also making efforts to bring the body back.
Sunil, 38, was engaged as a labourer with a construction contractor in Delhi. On April 11, the contractor called up his family back home in Gorakhpur to inform them that Sunil had fallen ill and was admitted to a hospital.
As per Radhey Shyam, father of the deceased, despite repeated efforts to talk to Sunil, he could not do so as his son had left his mobile phone behind in his room before being admitted to the hospital. “A policeman called us up on April 14 to give us the news of Sunil’s death in the hospital and asked us to take the body,” said Radhey Shyam.
“We tried to arrange a vehicle to ferry the body back home but failed to do so as we did not have Rs 25,000 required for it,” said the distraught father. “Finding no other way to perform the last rites of my dead son during the lockdown, we decided to hold a symbolic cremation,” he said while trying to console his shattered wife, the mother of the deceased.
However, the entire village converged to come to the family’s help. They escorted Sunil’s wife Poonam to the office of Chauri Chaura SDM Arpit Gupta and submitted an application requesting the Delhi Police to conduct a post-mortem and send the body home citing financial constraints.
As per the SDM, on coming to know about the shocking incident, he apprised his seniors and called upon the staff and locals to join hands to help the aggrieved family. They together collected Rs 75,000 which was deposited in the bank account of Sunil’s wife Poonam. The family was also provided with groceries and other essential items. The SDM claimed that the district administration would ensure that the children of the deceased would get education free of cost.
Sunil is survived by his parents, wife and five children, including four daughters and a son. His elder brother lives with his family separately in the village while Sunil’s family was living with his parents.