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Kin object to carrying out funeral of activist priest 

Panaji: The North Goa district magistrate on Thursday informed the Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC) that the relatives of activist priest Bismarque Dias, have objected to carrying out his funeral.

The parish priest of St Stephen’s Church, St Estevam, has stated that he cannot carry out Dias’ final rites without an no-objection certificate (NOC) from Dias’ relatives. The St Estevam panchayat, on April 9, passed a resolution in support of the parish priest’s stand.

“As there is no permission or appeal from the family of the late Fr Bismarque Dias directing the church to proceed with his funeral rites, it is not possible to carry out his last rites,” the parish priest told the block development officer (BDO).

The North Goa collector, on April 3, ordered the Tiswadi BDO to liaise with the St Estevam panchayat and the local parish priest, and arrange for Dias’ last rites by April 15. The BDO was also directed to inform Dias’ relatives about the last rites.

Dias’ brothers, Mario and Kennedy, and mother, Esteilita, filed a representation on April 11 requesting the North Goa collector to withdraw the orders issued to the BDO and the sarpanch of the St Estevam panchayat.

In the order, the collector had stated that two post-mortem examinations had been carried out on the body and autopsy reports issued. The crime branch PI and the North Goa collector had subsequently issued NOCs to carry out the final funeral rites as the body was no longer required for investigation, The Times of India reported.

The order was passed following a complaint filed before the GSHRC, which stated that Dias’ body had been lying in the morgue for over 17 months and that the state government couldn’t shy away from its duty of ensuring the disposal of the body according to the religious customs of the deceased.

The commission subsequently ordered the North Goa collector to issue directives to liaise with the parish priest and arrange for Dias’ final rites.

The complaint stated that Dias, who toiled for Goa, deserved a fitting farewell and pointed out that the Goa Medical College has rules and standing instructions for disposal of a cadaver.

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