The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Warm bath after months in a vat

Calcutta, April 14: After al-most two months in a garbage vat, Dukhua found a clean floor to lie upon today.

Personnel from the Cossipore police station, just opposite the road where he lay all these days, picked him from the filth and took him to RG Kar Medical College on the morning The Telegraph reported about the police apathy towards a man in misery with no one to turn to.

Frail and dishevelled, Du- khua had a look of surprise — and a hint of smile — while being handed over to doctors for the treatment of a gangrene-like wound on his right toe.

A speech disorder has made him incapable of communicating in words.

The middle-aged man who limped with a stick until a co-uple of months ago had been confined to the vat since the wound turned worse. Hundreds of people passed him by, but none cared. Only Shantabai, a tea stall owner, dropped food for him in the vat once a day.

The police tried to shrug off responsibility saying they had called up some NGOs for help.

“The doctors took a close look at his wound and treated the area with medicines. The toe might need an operation,” a senior officer said today, adding: “He will get a haircut and a warm bath tomorrow.”

Shanta said several police officers turned up with a van at 10 in the morning and picked up Dukhua. “He seemed all lost and even tried to resist initially. There was a dazed look in his eyes as the policemen overpowered him.”

Doctors said Dukhua was terribly weak and needed a proper diet to survive the medicine course. “We’ve kept him under observation. He needs a balanced diet first. We have applied medicines on his wound. If that doesn’t work, we might go for an operation,” said Sitangshu Roy, the superintendent of the hospital.

At the hospital, an NGO from Bhowanipore came to Dukhua’s rescue when the doctors were frantically looking for someone to stand in as his “guardian”.

“I will take his responsibility and look after his medical needs,” said Utpal Roy of the NGO, Diganta.

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