Rats, malfunctioning cooling system, near defunct GMC morgue take a heavy toll on Fr Bismarque’s Dias cadaver

Even as the Goa Human Rights Commission (GHRC) reiterated its recommendations that the body of activist Bismarque Dias be disposed of and recommended that the district magistrate North Goa issue suitable instructions to carry out the exercise in accordance with law, an investigation has found that Fr Dias corpse has decayed and rotted, thanks to a malfunctioning cooling system, very aggressive and potent rodents and an almost defunct morgue at the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC).

“It appears that the corpse of Fr Bismarque Dias may be partly eaten or gnawed at by rats and other rodents and the ill-functioning cooling system at the morgue has taken a very heavy toll on Fr Dias’ body causing severe decay,” claimed the investigation findings.

Even if the family and relatives of Dias are in the hope that the corpse may be required for investigation and could throw light on his death, the massive decay due to the malfunctioning morgue’s cooling system would have rendered the cadaver useless for any further forensic medical examination, Remedios opined, adding that Bismarque’s mortal remains deserve a decent and honorable burial and do not deserve to rot and decay due to frequent AC failures or aggressive and hungry rats who are slowly but surely nibbling away at the corpse.

While the website refused to elaborate on how they had this information, because, entry to the morgue is highly restricted, but said that reliable sources as well as morgue staff had confided that the body needs a quick yet decent burial before it can decay and rot completely, or get eaten by rats who manage to find their way inside the morgue, in spite of the best efforts of the morgue staff to prevent it.

Dias’ body has been lying at Goa medical college and hospital (GMC) morgue since November 2015, reports the Times of India.

Earlier this year, following the commission’s recommendations, the North Goa collector on April 3 ordered the block development officer (BDO), Tiswadi with the assistance of the St Estevam panchayat to liaise with the parish priest and arrange for Dias’ last rites by April 15. The BDO was also directed to inform the relatives of the deceased about the last rites.

The GHRC comprising its chairman A D Salkar and member J A Keny issued the order on a petition filed by social activist and lawyer, Aires Rodrigues. Rodrigues, in his complaint to the GHRC in March this year, had said the body of Dias, who was found dead at St Estevam, was kept in the “unhygienic and regularly malfunctional” morgue infested with rats and sought its disposal, reports PTI.

But according to TOI, the parish priest of St Stephen’s Church, St Estevam had stated that he could not carry out the final rites without a no objection certificate (NOC) from Dias’ relatives. “Since there is no permission or appeal from the family of late Fr Bismarque Dias directing the Church to proceed with the last funeral rites, it is not possible to carry out the last rites of Fr Bismarque,” the parish priest informed the BDO.

Dias’ brothers Mario and Kennedy and mother Esteilita Maria Dias filed a representation on April 11 requesting the North Goa collectorate to withdraw the orders issued to the BDO and the sarpanch of St Estevam panchayat.

The complaint filed with the commission by advocate Aires Rodrigues stated that Dias who toiled for Goa deserved a fitting farewell, and highlighted the fact that GMC has rules and standing instructions for disposal of a cadaver. In its order, the North Goa collector stated that two post mortem examinations have been carried out, and autopsy reports issued. The PI Crime Branch and the North Goa collectorate have issued NOCs to carry out the final funeral rites as the body is no more required for the purpose of investigation.

The order was passed following a complaint filed with the commission stating that Dias’ body was lying in the morgue for more than 17 months and that the state government couldn’t shy away from its duty in ensuring the disposal of the body according to religious customs of the deceased.

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