New Delhi: Archbishop of Delhi Anil JT Couto on Tuesday has expressed shock and sadness at the growing apathy towards the dead of the poor families, particularly the tribals and Dalits.
His statement came after a tribal man in Odisha was forced to collect garbage to cremate his wife, after he was allegedly turned away by the crematorium because he was not having enough money.
"The shocking reports of sheer apathy on the part of the civil authorities and governments towards the dead persons of poor families in the states of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh are disturbing," the Archbishop said.
"These incidents remind us that we as a democratic welfare state are lacking even basic amenities and facilities to provide a dignified burial or last rites for the dead, particularly the poor and vulnerable sections of the society," he added.
He said, "I appeal to our Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of the states to focus on providing basic amenities in rural health care centres and empower the panchayats with adequate infrastructures and institutions as to make our nation truly a welfare state in every sense of the word. The government must explore the possibilities of responding quickly to distress calls through a centralised mechanism transcending barriers of states and languages."