In a shocking incident on Monday, a youth in Ward 6 of South Dum Dum Municipality met an untimely death under suspicious circumstances
Three human bodies, while being trafficked from the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital (BMCH), were recovered by the security staff today and six persons, including three autopsy technicians were detained by the police.
Cases of trafficking of human skeletons from the graveyards in and around East Burdwan were recorded in 2007, 2014, 2017 and 2019 and the police also had busted a large ‘skeleton factory’ in Purbasthali and had arrested nearly a dozen labourers.
Theft of human skeletons from the BMCH morgue was alleged by some family members of deceased persons earlier but recovery of skeletons today may have happened for the first time, officials said.
The security staff at BMCH received a tip-off that corpses stolen from the anatomy section of the medical college were dumped in a mortuary van for trafficking by the miscreants. The staff raided the section and found a group ‘loading’ three bodies into the van.
They were intercepted immediately and the constables at the hospital’s police camp also arrived shortly. The police said that six persons were booked; three of them were autopsy technicians of the hospital, who were hand-in-glove with the traffickers.
Dr Kaustav Nayak, principal, BMCH said: “Those were ‘unclaimed’ bodies, as I’ve learnt. The bodies after cross section and dissection were supposed to be collected by the municipality for cremation.” Bodies, labelled as ‘unclaimed’, are shifted to the morgue after recovery by the police. Such bodies, after a certain time, are forwarded to the anatomy department to aid in the studies of the medical students and then handed over to the Burdwan Municipality.
The police said: “We need to interrogate the detained persons to identify the rest of the trafficking gang.” At Srirampur village in Kalyanpur panchayat area, the police, after a tip-off from a rag picker on 29 January, 2019, had found four empty graves from where human bodies were exhumed and stolen. In March, 2017, a ‘skeleton factory’ was busted at Nanda colony near Kalna town during a joint raid by the SDM, Kalna and the police.
The officials had seized 18 human skulls, ribs and different parts of human carcasses from inside the ‘factory’ located close to the houses of two brothers Manoj Pal and Tapas Pal. In April, 2007, the skeleton scam had first rocked Burdwan and Kalna after recovery of as many as 50 skulls from different locations in the district.