Balasore, January 18 (odisha.in) Even today Amitabh Bachchan advocates on TV: “AIDS doesn’t spread with touching the infected person or its dead body”.
But it seems such messages making people aware about the killer disease have fallen flat in remote pockets like Gohira village in Orissa’s Balasore district.
In a shocking incident, the residents of Gohira village under Berhampur police station area refused to cremate the body of Bhaja Mohan Malik (40) suspecting he might be died of AIDS.
The incident came as surprise for his family members as Bhaja was yet to be declared as an AIDS infected.
“Three months back he suffered from prolonged fever and fell sick. As per the advice of doctor his blood sample has been sent for HIV test. But he died three days back. When the report is yet to reach us, neighbourers didn’t touch his body suspecting him as a HIV positive,” Kuni Malik, his wife said.
The incident come to fore on Wednesday when some social workers went to her village for a study on HIV positive people.
“His body had to rot for over 24 hours till some youths my village take it to cremation ground after my repeated request,” she added.
A dejected Kuni, who herself is living a horrific life after the death of her husband, also has given blood sample for HIV test.
Even though health officials shed crocodile tears for HIV infected persons and spend crores on awareness, the reality is something else.
“We don’t want to take any risk. Who knows the disease may spread to us when we cremate the body. Though the report is yet to come, but he must be died of AIDS,” said Ghania Malik, a resident of Gohira.
Bhaja’s family sources said, he was working as a labourer in Kolkata and Maharastra for over 12 years before returning back to his home five years back and tying the knot.
“It is most shocking that the blood report is yet to reach the victim even after his death and three months after the sample was given,” said Dilip Parida, a social activist.
However, CDMO NK Mishra said, he had no knowledge about the social boycott of the ‘suspected’ AIDS victim.
The main reason of the social ostracisation of the AIDS patient is lack of AIDS shelter homes in the district.
“The Government is yet to set up an AIDS shelter home despite the National AIDS Control Organisation’s (NACO) directives,” pointed out Parida.