The dead body of a farm labourer in Bihar was carried to the bank by his neighbours to demand money for his cremation, police said Thursday.
Mahesh Yadav, 55, a resident of Shahjahanpur, died early Tuesday after a lengthy illness, leaving no family. His body was found by neighbours several hours later, officials said.
The villagers searched his home for valuables to pay for his funeral, but unable to find any, they instead took his bank passbook that showed he had about Rs 1.18 lakh in his account.
That afternoon, they took the passbook — and Yadav’s corpse — to the nearby Canara bank, refusing to leave until the branch manager released his funds, local police officer Amrendar Kumar said. “Villagers demanded the bank gave them money from his account for the cremation or else they would not cremate him,” Kumar said.
“It put pressure on the bank, which finally released some money following the intervention of the local police station.” Canara Bank’s branch manager Sanjeev Kumar said the extraordinary scenes created panic.
“It was the first such case,” Kumar said. As the situation became tense, Bank authorities collected donations from the employees, and Rs 10,000 was given to the villagers to conduct Mahesh’s last rites. “He has Rs 118,000 in his account. But no nominations have been made. If none of Mahesh’s heirs claim this money, the bank will not give any money,” he said.
“They finally left the bank with his body for the cremation ground,” he added. Neighbour Shakuntala Devi said Yadav did not own any land and did not receive any support from the government.
“There was no-one to look after him although he had been ailing for months. We used to provide him cooked food and other things,” she said.
(With inputs from AFP, News18 Assam)