Inhuman Face Of Chennai Floods: Man Gets Newborn’s Dead Body In A Carton Box

Inhuman Face Of Chennai Floods: Man Gets Newborn’s Dead Body In A Carton Box

The carton box, which Masood was holding on Sunday, contained the body of a stillborn child which his wife Soniya had delivered on December 5.

N ChithraUpdated: Monday, December 11, 2023, 10:21 PM IST
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Chennai: While visuals of people marooned in neck-deep water and expensive cars getting washed away are by now familiar features of floods, one image of the devastation caused by Cyclone Michaung that would haunt Chennai in the years to come is that of a young man holding a carton box in a cemetery.

The carton box, which Masood was holding on Sunday, contained the body of a stillborn child which his wife Soniya had delivered on December 5. When she had gone into labour that night, their house in Pulianthope in North Chennai was surrounded by flood waters. Masood’s efforts to call an ambulance went in vain.

Tricycle Ride to Hospital

“Neighbours then helped me take my wife, who was in preterm labour, to a hospital in a tricycle. The private hospital was shut and by the time she could be taken to another hospital, she delivered the stillborn child. The doctors at the second private hospital did not come to administer first aid till the police intervened,” Masood recalls.

Trauma and Neglect in Hospital

That was not the end of his trauma. Soniya was referred to the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) where the stillborn baby was kept in the mortuary. A staff then sought Rs 2,500 from Masood to bury the baby. Being a daily wager, he was unable to pay the money.

Compassionate Intervention by Volunteers

Later volunteers of the Tamizhaga Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, a political outfit, offered to help him bury the baby. The baby’s body was handed over to him in a carton box. When he opened the box at the cemetery the volunteers and Masood were shocked that the hospital staff had not even covered the body with a cloth.

The volunteers then wrapped the body in a white cloth and help Masood bury it.

KMC authorities said an inquiry has been ordered into the incident after it was confirmed that the body of the baby was handed over in a carton box, which is a violation of procedure. Departmental action will be initiated against the staff involved in the incident.

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