CHENNAI: Here’s something spooky. Fifteen unidentified bodies are recovered in Tamil Nadu every day.
As many as 5,319 unidentified bodies were found in Tamil Nadu in 2012, according to recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau. Most of the individuals were murder victims.
The state is second only to Maharashtra, which tops the official crime compiler’s morbid list with 5,906 unidentified bodies. Crime experts and police officers say a rise in the number of unidentified bodies could be a pointer to an increase in the number of unsolved murders.
A total of 37,838 unidentified bodies were recovered across the country in 2012, an average of 103 bodies a day, the NCRB data has revealed.
Most bodies unclaimed are of women and elderly
Police officials say killers dump bodies in lakes or on railway tracks because it is an easy way to get rid of evidence and putrefaction or mutilation makes identification and further investigation difficult for police.
A police officer said few people approach police to identify bodies or claim them. “Investigating officers try to make identification as soon as possible, preferably within 48 hours, before decomposition starts, because determining the identity early is vital to a murder investigation,” he said.
Unidentified bodies are sent to crematoriums or to medical colleges where they are used to study anatomy.
The Tamil Nadu police website (www.tnpolice.gov.in) currently has details of 631 unidentified bodies that were recovered in the state this year. Most of the bodies were of senior citizens and of women with severe injuries to the face.
Social activists say several of the bodies are of homeless people. “There are too few homes where they can find shelter and inadequate healthcare facilities,” said A Narayanan, who works for the welfare of the homeless. “The facilities are poor at government hospitals and mortuaries are often inadequate. This leads to decomposition. Police rarely conduct forensic tests to determine the cause of death,” he said.
Railway police have to deal with a large number of bodies, of people who committed suicide or were accidentally hit by trains. “Railway police usually take unidentified bodies to the nearest government hospital,” said Southern Railway chief public relations officer V J Accamma. If we conclude it is a suspicious death, we immediately alert the nearest police station.”
“We place advertisements in newspapers about unclaimed bodies, after which we wait for a few days,” a police officer said. “If we receive no response and the body is not connected to a medico-legal case, we hand it over to the corporation for burial or send it to a medical college.”
Source: Times of India