- BBC News World
If you die, you will not be able to own land.
This is a simple logic that has created countless cases of people being registered dead in India and their property confiscated. The BBC’s Chloe Hatjimatiu writes that many have found that there is very little they can do about it.
Bader Yadav is alive, so he was surprised that according to a paper he was dead.
In the late 1970s, after the deaths of his daughter and son-in-law, Unexpectedly she had to raise two grandchildren.
He sold the land he had inherited from his father in his hometown for his upbringing and education.
But a few months later he got a strange phone call.
“The person to whom I sold the land called to say there was a legal case against me,” he recalled.
“My son – in – law said HopI was told For all I have died That a fraudster had sold the land. “
Yadav immediately moved from Calcutta, where he currently resides, to a village in the Assamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh in central northern India. When he arrived, people were amazed to see him.
“They looked at me as if they were a ghost and said:”¡THooYou are dead! We have already done the mourning for you! ”
Yadav says he and his son-in-law were close and used to see the young man when he went to town.
But Visits stopped When Yadav informed him that the family was planning to sell the land.
He later learned that his son-in-law was claiming the land as his inheritance and Yadav confronted him.
“I have never seen this guy in my life. My uncle is dead,” he said. “I was shocked,” Yadav said.
“I said, ‘I stand here, alive, before you, Forgive me No. Can you recognize me?‘”.
Association of the Undead
According to Yadav, I cried for several days, but then pulled myself together and called the Indian Association of the Immortals.
The organization is led by Lal Bihari Mritak, one of the 60s who learned of his declaration of death: he lived as if he had been said to be dead for a third of his life.
Bihari came from a very poor family.
Because he did not learn to read or write He was sent to workTo 7 Years To a sari factory. When he was 20 he opened his own textile workshop in a neighboring town, but he needed a loan to start a business and the bank asked him for a guarantee.
He went to the local government office in Azamgarh district in his hometown of Khalilabad. The land he inherited from his father.
The city accountant searched for his name and found documents, but also found a death certificate stating that Lal Bihari was dead.
Bihari’s claim is baseless, he said he could not have died because he was standing there.
“Here in these documents, in black and white, Says you are dead“, They told them.
When Bihari’s death was registered with the local authority, the land and property he had inherited from his father went from him to his uncle’s family.
To this day Bihari says he does not know if it existed A clerk error or If your uncle tore you up.
Anyway, Bihari is broken. He had to close his workshop and his family was in a state of helplessness.
Poor, uneducated and inferior caste
But Bihari did not want to give up and accept death without a fight, and soon realized that he was not alone. People across the country were deceived by relatives who declared them dead to acquire their land.
So Bihari formed an association of the undead to unite them all and started a campaign to take note of their plight.
According to one estimate, there are 40,000 did not die In the state of Uttar Pradesh alone, most of them are poor, illiterate and oppressed castes.
Bihari added the suffix மிருதக் His name means “deceased” and was renamed “Dead Lal Bihari”.
Along with others in his situation, he organized struggles to attract media attention. But none of this was enough to change his position.
Then he decided to stand in the national election The name of the deceased was placed on the ballot.
It was not enough to convince the authorities that he was alive, he almost committed suicide after three hunger strikes.
Finally, in desperation, he decided to break the law by kidnapping his uncle’s son. He believed that the police would arrest him and that if he did so, he would be forced to accept that he was alive; After all, The dead man cannot be arrested.
But the police, realizing what he was trying to do, refused to get involved.
Eventually, Bihari found justice as a result of his own efforts, but thanks to the same organization that changed his life.
New District Magistrate in Assam Examined his case Again 18 years after he was pronounced dead, Lal Bihari was pronounced alive.
Look through your property fence
Bihari notes that through his Association of the Undead, he has supported thousands of people across India who have faced similar situations.
He says many of them are not as lucky as he is. Some have lost faith and have fought their case for years and committed suicide, while others have died before proving that they did not actually die.
Tilak Chand Thakat begins his struggle. Currently, the person is 70 years old, when he visits the farmland in Madhya Pradesh where he grew up Look at her through a fence.
The old man has many health problems and knows he can not live long enough to walk back into those fields.
Younger, Taqqat moved to the city in the hope that his children would have a better life and a higher income. When I was far away, For his rentS EarthS For a couple.
He found it when he returned to the city to sign some documents I am no longer the ownerS EarthS Because he is said to be dead.
“An official from the local office told me he was dead. I thought, ‘How can that be?’ I was so scared, “he recalled.
Thirsty says he soon found out that the married couple who rented the land had registered him dead. The wife had gone to court claiming to be her widow and saying she was happy to give up the land.
When Contacting the BBC With the couple accusing Dagot of taking over his property, he replied that they did not want to answer any questions.
Anil Kumar, a lawyer who has fought many undead cases, estimates that in Assamkar province, where Lal Bihari resides, there should be at least 100 people who have been pronounced dead prematurely.
He says every case is complicated. Sometimes there are clerical errors, other times Public officials take bribes They write fake death certificates.
Ruling Indian People’s Party (BJP) spokesperson Shaina NC told the BBC that the current government was very active in enforcing anti-corruption legislation.
“In a country as large and diverse as India, there may be some loose cases that grow back, but the majority (of the people) are protected by the good governance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added.
“If there are corruption cases, there are adequate arrangements in Parliament to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.”
But when these cases are the result of a fraud, Anil Kumar, Justice can be hard To achieve.
In one case he argued, it took him six years to prove his client was alive, and for more than 25 years he has been waiting for a verdict against the person whose client allegedly died.
“If such cases are expedited so that the culprit is punished, it will create fear among the people and prevent such crimes,” Kumar said.
Fake birthday cake
It has been more than 45 years since Lal Bihari Mritak was declared dead and it has been more than two decades to prove that he is alive.
But still Organizes a birthday party every year, Guests are seated around a large cake. As the knife cuts through the frosting, it makes the decorated cardboard box – a gimmick – clear to your guests.
“Inside it is completely empty. There are also some government officials: Empty and unreasonable“, Complained.
“I did not cut this cake. It is the epitome of the society in which we live.”
Bihari notes that he still receives calls from people across the country seeking his advice and help in proving that they are alive, but Has been losing strength for 66 yearsS Now he intends to withdraw from the struggle.
“I have no money or energy to run an association of the undead and no one to look after it,” he adds.
He always expected the national media to protect deportees and the government to crack down on bribe-takers, but that did not happen.
Who tried to prove that he was only 18 years old in his lifetime One day he will actually die, Without achieving the changes he had long struggled for.
Piyush Nagpal, Ajith Sarathi and Praveen Mudholkar Reported from domain.
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