Thursday, December 11, 2003

Living Dead

An estimated 35,000 people in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have been declared dead, by unscrupulous relatives, in order to steal their property.
Transparency International via The Man in Blue

and more on the living dead

"I'm here. I'm alive," Lal Bihari told revenue officials after discovering he was listed as deceased in 1976. "That may be so," an unruffled clerk replied, "but according to my books you're dead." It took Lal Bihari 18 years to get his life and his land back. During that time, he added the word Mritak, or Dead, to his name and to prove that he was living sought arrest, tried to run for parliament, kidnapped the son of the uncle who had stolen his property, threatened murder, insulted judges, threw leaflets listing his complaints at legislators in the state assembly and demanded a widow's pension for his wife. Each time he was either beaten up by police or rebuked for wasting officials' time. Unable to make headway, Lal Bihari The Dead sought the company of other ghosts in Uttar Pradesh and found an entire underworld of the deceased and dispossessed. Last month a dozen of them demonstrated outside the Uttar Pradesh assembly to publicize their fate, demanding an official investigation into land registry transactions to prevent others from being robbed.Time Asia

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