Police clueless on recovery of 100 human skulls in Aligarh

June 10th, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Aligarh, June 10 (IANS) A fortnight after nearly 100 human skulls were discovered by street urchins in a dried-up pond here, the Uttar Pradesh police are still to come up with a credible explanation for the mystery.
The skulls were discovered in a pond that runs parallel to the district jail boundary wall here. The residents say only a part of the pond was dug up and there could be even more skulls and bones in there.

When this IANS correspondent visited the site, residents said only a part of the pond along the district jail boundary had been dug up while almost two-thirds remains untouched.

“Therefore there is every possibility that another few hundred skulls and skeletal remains would be discovered,” said Rati Ram, who lives in a nearby village.

The pond is now under round-the-clock security watch and the correspondent saw many bones scattered around.

Senior Superintendent of Police Aseem Arun hinted that the skeletons could be of bodies from the nearby post-mortem house thrown into the pond instead of being properly cremated.

“It is likely that bodies of victims in mass accidents might have been thrown into the pond over the years. But the security personnel watching from the towers must have seen all that was happening. If they say they did not see anyone throwing the bodies we must question the alertness of the jail security apparatus,” said Shafi Bhai, a local resident.

The officials believe that the remains are of people whose identities could not be verified and whose bodies were callously dumped into the pond to save on cremation.

Police sources said private contractors had been hired in the past two years to cremate unclaimed bodies.

A positive fallout of the incident has been the raise in the amount sanctioned for cremation of unclaimed bodies.

Vishnu Kumar of the Manav Upkar Samiti told IANS: “Earlier the amount fixed was around Rs.500 for cremation, which was hardly sufficient to buy firewood and pay for the transport of the body. But now the government has raised this amount to Rs.1,500 which is fair and we hope with our involvement the dead shall have a decent last journey. We are however trying to get the funds released immediately because it takes a lot of time at present to get money from the government.”

Lawyer and human rights activist Gaurav Agarwal meanwhile has succeeded in persuading the Human Rights Commission to set up an inquiry into all aspects of the incident.

A deputy inspector general-level officer will conduct the inquiry, an official in the district police chief’s office informed.

He said the skulls had been sent to the forensic department for thorough investigation and to determine the age of the human remains.

A committee headed by the additional district magistrate has been constituted to suggest measures to ensure a proper mechanism for the disposal of dead bodies, the official said.

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