Unclaimed bodies rotting at DMC

Charity organisation denied burial places by city graveyards; Stench from morgue hampers academic activities
Dhaka Medical College Hospital
Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Star file photo

Thirty-three unclaimed bodies have been decomposing at Dhaka Medical College mortuary, releasing an unbearable stench as the only graveyard in Jurain designated for burying such bodies is inundated with rain water.

The situation at the mortuary is now unbearable as three of its five freezers have been defunct for almost two months, reducing the storage capacity to eight bodies only at a time, morgue sources said.

The unclaimed bodies, sent by police, have been kept haphazardly inside the country's largest morgue for the last 10 days.

Anjuman Mufidul Islam, a charitable organisation that buries unclaimed bodies, has not been able to bury the bodies as officials of other graveyards in the capital refused to accept unidentified bodies, said an official of the organisation.

The situation at Sir Salimullah Medical College morgue is no better.

The authorities have been in a fix for almost two weeks as two-thirds space of the morgue's freezer, which can store 12 bodies, is occupied by unclaimed bodies. 


The air around DMC morgue has become so heavy with strong odour that the anatomy department wrote a letter to the morgue authority on Sunday, saying its academic activities were being hampered.

Morgue staffers told The Daily Star that they couldn't do much as the freezers were already occupied.

Anjuman Mufidul Islam, which usually collects bodies three or four times a week, has not been doing so in the last 10 days.

Apart from the graveyard in Jurain, Azimpur graveyard once allowed unidentified bodies to be buried there.

But the authorities at Azimpur have not been taking unclaimed bodies for the last one year, said Mahmudul Hasan, assistant director (service) of Anjuman Mufidul Islam.

Hafizur Rahman, in-charge of the Azimpur graveyard, said it was already getting more bodies to bury than it could accommodate.

Meanwhile, the 7.5 acres designated for the burial of unclaimed bodies at Jurain has gone under rain water, said Soaib Hossain, in-charge of the graveyard.

The problem may persist for two months, he added.

“We advised Anjuman to look for other graveyards under Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC),” Soaib said.

Khan Mohammad Bilal, CEO of Dhaka South City Corporation, said no one had informed him about the water logging problem at the Jurain graveyard. “I will look into the matter.”

Of the graveyards in the capital, the Jurain graveyard is of 17 acres, Azimpur 33 acres, Mirpur 67 acres and Bosila 80 acres.

Mahmudul Hasan, an official of Anjuman Mufidul Islam, said the organisation had sent a letter to the DNCC on June 8, asking for permission to bury unclaimed bodies at the Mirpur Intellectual Graveyard and Bosila Graveyard.

But it did not get the permission yet.

Contacted, Annisul Huq, mayor of the DNCC, told The Daily Star that the authority would allow Anjuman Mufidul Islam to bury unclaimed bodies at Bosila and Mirpur graveyards.

Asked about the letter from Anjuman Mufidul Islam on Sunday evening, Mesbahul Islam, chief executive officer of the DNCC, said, “I heard about the matter two hours ago when an official of Anjuman Mufidul Islam called me. The letter might have been received by my office, but it was not brought to my notice earlier.”

On an average, Anjuman Mufidul Islam buried as many as 1,500 bodies a year between 2007 and 2015.


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