Patiala, December 1
Claiming to have saved many lives and fished out hundreds of bodies in the past one decade, local divers are peeved at the subsequent governments’ failure to give them a steady livelihood.
“We must have saved over 100 people and fished out over 500 bodies in the past decade, but the governments have failed to ensure a job for us,” they claim.
The divers have formed various clubs and are available round the clock to help victims’ relatives and police.
Working in tough conditions
We are helpless as the government does not pay us anything. Sometimes the bodies are in a poor condition and we face diffculties due to the fast water current, so we charge extra. There is no insurance cover for us for accidents, death or other losses. Raj Kumar, a local diver
Despite no help and arrangements from the government, around 50 divers in Patiala are in the profession of fishing out bodies. They charge around Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 per body. There are no expert divers on rolls and no special arrangements to fish out bodies from water channels.
“e are helpless as the government does not pay us anything. Sometimes the bodies are in a poor condition and we face diffculties due to the fast water current, so we charge extra. There is no insurance cover for us for accidents, death or other losses,” Raj Kumar, a diver, said.
As per data available with the district police, 91 bodies were recovered from canals in 2021 and 80 have been recovered this year.
Barring a few bodies, the private divers have helped police fish out the majority of bodies in the district.
People pay huge amounts to get the bodies fished out. The divers don’t take out the bodies until they are paid. “To solve cases, we have often paid the divers from our own pockets,” a police official said.
The divers claim they are available round the clock to fish out murder victims, helping cops solve crimes. “From ghastly sights under the water to putting our lives in danger, we do everything to ensure respectful last rites of the dead,” Shiv Kumar, a local diver said. He added, “Our demands for more facilities, insurance and a government job have gone unheard multiple times.”
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