By: Lourembam Nganthoi
It would be an acute understatement of fact to state that instances of unsolved and unattended criminal cases in the state are piling up without any letup, nay, with increasing frequency each passing day. Tragically, yet understandably, most of these unsolved and neglected cases fade away into oblivion with the passage of time. But ever so rarely there comes certain incidents which left an indelible scar in the collective consciousness of the public, with lingering questions that raise itself ever so frequently as if to challenge and mock the frailty of the human mind. The recent tragic death of Keithellakpam (o) Debjani of Tera Lukram Leirak is one such amongst numerous unfortunate incidents that have come to represent the callous and indifferent attitude of the judicial system in the state. Has justice been delivered, fairly and squarely, to the family members of Debjani? What holds the future of two the small children she left behind against her own will and understanding? What happened to the enraged JAC formed at her death ostensibly to secure justice for the bereaved family?Not so long ago in the gynaecology ward of RIMS- the much touted premiere medical institution of the North Eastern region, Debjani was admitted for her second delivery, brimming with hope and anticipation. In the evening of 20 November 2013, Debjani reportedly gave birth to her second son weighing 4.3 kgs at around 9.30 pm- an occasion of unbounded joy. Sadly, about an hour later she started having postpartum bleeding, and according to her family members Debjani was left unattended by any doctors or nurses till 11.00 pm despite repeated attempts and requests to the medical staffs. As her situation worsened gradually, doctors conducted a hysterectomy operation. At around 1.40 am the doctors declared that Debjani had suffered a cardiac arrest, and after an intensive short struggle they couldn’t save her life. Following the incident, various NGOs and civil bodies formed a JAC against the death of Debjani demanding punishment for the concern Doctor and removal of the Director. The movement of the JAC sparked outrage throughout the state and for a while it seemed justice was to be given to the victim’s family in a short period of time. Past nine months, just like any other unsolved cases it seems to fade away.People who are alive suffer more than those are dead. Debjani is gone but she left two small children behind. What will happen of the two little lives when they realise of the fateful moment? After meeting with the family members of late Debjani one would realise how unfaithful life could be to those who are living. Her mother-in-law Keithellakpam (o) Chandrika, who runs the family of four owns a small grocery shop and the income she gets from the shop is proving very difficult to maintain the household. She laments ‘Not only my daughter –in-law, there might be many women who might have died of over bleeding while delivering their babies for the reason of doctor’s clumsiness and carelessness. Be my daughter-in-law the last, no other women must die due to the negligence of the doctors and nurses. We demanded to give punishment to the doctor and to remove the Director of RIMS from its post but no action has been taken by the government. And honestly speaking we haven’t got a single penny of help from others and thinking for the two children for their future education worries me a lot. But I do pray that the incident must not be repeated to any women while delivering.’This is just a single heart rending story of negligence and indifference suffered by those who have no influence or power to stake their claim to justice. Perhaps the blindfold on the Lady Statue of Justice have been removed, albeit inadvertently?