The GRP, which provided these shocking figures, said that the deceased included beggars, drug addicts and the mentally challenged.
A total of 18,084 persons were found dead within the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Railway Police Commissionerate, of which 11,894 bodies were claimed by relatives. The Mumbai GRP later disposed of the remaining unclaimed (6,190) bodies, or one-third of the lot.
They said each year, thousands of people migrated to Mumbai, the nation’s commercial capital. Many settled near religious places or on the premises of railway stations. The problem arose when these settlers died due to starvation or illness on the premises.
“If the body of an unidentified person is found on the railway premises, the police take a photograph of the deceased and later circulate it to police stations across the state, the police headquarters of other states through the state DGP’s office and Doordarshan to trace the relatives or next of kin of deceased.
The body is kept in the morgue of a government or civil hospital for eight days until a claimant comes,” said an officer attached to the Mumbai Railway Police. If nobody comes forward, the railway police dispose of the body.
Deputy Commissioner of Police of Mumbai GRP SN Sirsat said It’s a challenge to trace the relatives of a beggar, drug addict or a mentally challenged person.
“Thanks to the joint efforts by GRP personnel and Manavta, an NGO, we have succeeded in bringing down the figure of unclaimed bodies from 1,392 in 2008 to 1,111 in 2012.”
He added the GRP commissioner Prabhat Kumar launched the website http://shodh.gov.in in July 2012 to identify the accident victims. People can trace missing persons by furnishing their physical description on the website.
Railway activist Sameer Zaveri, who filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court in 2008, said, “As per HC’s direction, the Western and Central Railways in Jan 2011 started their websites to post details of accident victims.”