Indian villagers carry corpse to bank to withdraw funeral money

Patna, India: The corpse of an Indian farm labourer was carried to the bank by his neighbours to demand money for his cremation, police said Thursday.

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Mahesh Yadav, 55, died early Tuesday in a village in the eastern state of Bihar after a lengthy illness, leaving no family. His body was found by neighbours several hours later, officials told AFP.

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The villagers searched his home for valuables to pay for his funeral, but unable to find any, they instead took his bank passbook that showed he had $1,600 in his account.

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That afternoon, they took the passbook – and Yadav’s corpse – to his bank, refusing to leave until the branch manager released his funds, local police officer Amrendar Kumar said.

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“Villagers demanded the bank gave them money from his account for the cremation or else they would not cremate him,” Kumar told AFP.

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“It put pressure on the bank, which finally released some money following the intervention of the local police station.”

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Canara Bank’s branch manager Sanjeev Kumar said the extraordinary scenes created panic.

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“It was the first such case,” Kumar told AFP.

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“After over an hour, I gave them money ($135) and they finally left the bank with his body for the cremation ground.”

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Neighbour Shakuntala Devi said Yadav did not own any land and did not receive any support from the government.

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“There was no-one to look after him although he had been ailing for months. We used to provide him cooked food and other things,” she told AFP.

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