Sepulchre silence reigns in the village Jaguleipada in Kendrapara district of Odisha. Tears were rolling down on the cheeks of many villagers including children after they came to know that Laxman Chandra and his wife Babita committed suicide after their seven-year-old son died of dengue on September 7 in New Delhi. Laxman Chandra and his wife Babita jumped to death from the terrace of a four-storey building in South Delhi, where they were staying on rent on September 8 after their son died of dengue. Their bodies were cremated in New Delhi on September 10.
Tears welled in the eyes of Mali (76), while remembering her son. “Laxman was a good student for which he got a job in a private company in New Delhi four years back. My other two sons are daily wagers. He used to send money to me regularly each month. We are unfortunate, as we could not see the bodies of our son, daughter-in-law and grandson as their bodies were cremated in New Delhi. After the death of our son, we are now pushed to a corner with no hopes,” said Mali. Now Mali is in a moribund condition.
“Laxman had telephoned our father on September1 and promised to send money and he kept his promise as our father received money on September 11, after a day of the suicide of his son and daughter-in-law,” said Ramchandra, the elder brother of Laxman.
“Last year, Laxman started construction of a house in village. He planned to complete the house this year. But before the completion of the house, he ended his life after the untimely death of his seven-year-old son by dengue in New Delhi,” said a sobbing Srinibas, the elder brother of Laxman. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as family members and people from surrounding areas mourned the death of the village youth, his wife and their son.
“Laxman was such a pleasant guy. I never saw him angry. I think he and his wife lost mental balance after the death of their son, for which they committed suicide by jumping from a building in New Delhi. Owing to gross negligence on the part of the doctors in New Delhi the son of Laxman died,” said Nrusingh Rout, a friend of Laxman.
Bereaved family members of Laxman Chandra Rout also expressed their unhappiness by not performing last rites of Laxman and his wife Babita in their village Jaguleipada as the bodies were cremated in New Delhi. “We are completely devastated after not performing the last rites of Laxman (35) and his wife (32),” said Ramchandra (39). “After the death of our brother and his wife, we have the right to cremate their bodies. Prasan Rout (19), the son of our elder brother Srinibas, lit the funeral pyres in New Delhi, as he was in New Delhi at that time. On September 14, Prasan came to village with the ashes of Laxman Chandra and his wife Babita,” said Ramchandra.
“Our 80-year-old father Kartik is a cardiac patient. Last year he suffered a heart attack, due to which we did not inform him about the death of Laxman Chandra. We only told him that Babita and her son died in New Delhi. We are not allowing him to watch television under the pretext that the TV got damaged due to lightning. My mother Mali is a paralysed patient and now in a moribund condition. Tears are rolling down on the cheeks of our disabled unmarried sister Rangalata (34) for last four days,” said Ramchandra, who runs a tea stall in the village. “The state government committed gross negligence towards us by not bringing the bodies to the village Jaguleipada in in a plane,” said Ramchandra.
“The authorities are now shedding crocodile’s tear by doling out three lakh rupees to the family members of Laxman Chandra,” said Raghunath Mohanty, a Zila Parishad member of Balia. Many locals also criticised the state government for its slipshod attitude after the death of the couple. It was the first and foremost duty of the officials of Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi, Member of Parliament from Kendrapara Baijayant Panda and organisations of Odiyas to bring the bodies to Bhubaneswar in a plane .
“After the suicide of Laxman Chandra and his wife, the state government and the officials of Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi did not perform their duties to bring the bodies to the Jaguleipada village,” said Umesh Singh, a lawyer of Kendrapara.
“It was clear that the state government has not taken the issue seriously, as seven days after the incident, the Chief Minister announced to provide Rs three-lakh compensation amount to the parents of Laxman Chandra”, said Jayant Mohanty, a Congress leader of Kendrapara. “It is a very tragic incident and we hope the Delhi government will take legal action against all the five private hospitals who refused to admit the seven-year-old son of Laxman Chandra”, said Mohanty.
After the suicide of Laxman Chandra and his wife, leaders of sundry political parties started converging in Jaguleipada village. Debraj Senapati, the District Collector, said, “The district administration would support the family of Laxman in whatever way possible.”
By Ashis Senapati from Kendrapara