Keen to give a “dignified exit” to than a 100 unidentified bodies recovered every year in Himachal Pradesh (HP) and offer bereaved families a sense of closure, the state police plans to tap the Aadhaar biometric database (which stores personal information of more than a billion Indians) to trace their identities.
To this end, director general of police Sanjay Kundu has written to the home department to see if limited access can be granted to the Aadhaar database through the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which administers the system.
On the 100-plus unidentified bodies recovered every year in different parts of the state, Kundu said, “there were no documents or identifiable articles found with them.”
Access to the database would allow biometrics of the bodies to be scanned and processed at the Aadhaar portal to trace pre-existing biometric details.
This would help the police “hand over the dead body to the family/relatives so that a respectable and dignified exit could be made possible by performing last rites. It would obviously also provide great relief to the family and friends of the deceased,” Kundu added.
According to the State Crime Records Bureau’s criminal investigation department, in the last five and a half years till July 15, 2020, 590 unidentified bodies were found in HP, roughly averaging 107 bodies a year.
With no mechanism in place to identify them, nearly all of these cases end up under the ‘undetected’ category after years of investigation.
Police personnel dealing with such cases also do not have access to a comprehensive database of unknown or unidentified bodies and missing persons.
Maximum number of bodies recovered in Shimla
As many as 111 such bodies were recovered in HP in 2015; 113 in 2016; 94 in 2017; 102 in 2018; 115 in 2019 and; 55 till the second week of July 2020.
Shimla topped the charts among districts with the maximum bodies (119) recovered, followed by Kullu (95) and Kangra (64).
In Mandi 64 were recovered while Solan was in the fifth spot with 53 bodies.
Among the dead, 95% are male and 5% were female.
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