07:35 GMT +325 September 2017
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    Santosh Murat Singh

    Walking Dead: Thousands Declared Dead by Deceptive Relatives in India

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    A lonely man in New Delhi's Jantar Mantar square has been fighting for 14 years to reclaim his existence, as he was deceptively declared dead by his relatives.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) – Santosh Murat Singh, a 35-year-old man who's been dubbed as the 'dead man', is fighting the biggest battle of his life since 2002 in India. Santosh occupies a corner in the vicinity of a popular protest site, Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi, with a placard reading "I am Alive."

    ​According to Santosh, who once served as a cook for Bollywood actor Nana Patekar in Mumbai, “It all began in 2002 when I got married to a lower caste girl from Maharashtra. My relatives and cousins and brothers opposed the marriage. I thought things would be sorted out gradually, but after six months, I came to know that in my ancestral village, my cousins, with the connivance of other members of the community, declared me dead, performed my last rites and even managed to get a death certificate from the revenue department. It was then that I realized that the entire drama of opposing my marriage was created just in order to grab the 12.5 acres of land that belonged to me.”

    ​Since then, he has left no stone unturned in his attempt to reclaim his existence. He has sought justice from the courts, police, and even the parliament. He even went to the Election Commission of India to file his nomination for the post of the country's President to attract attention of the government towards his plight. He thought doing so would prove he was ‘alive’ in government records, but to no avail.

    Santosh is not the only person to have been falsely declared dead by government officials. Santosh claims that there are approximately 50,000 such cases mostly in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where a living person has been shown as dead in official records.

    Santosh belongs to Varanasi, the election constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He draws inspiration from one of such case: Lal Bihari Yadav, who after being declared dead by revenue officials in 1976, was announced alive by the Allahabad High Court in 1995 after a tumultuous struggle.

    Ironically, Santosh's wife, who was the decisive factor in his misfortune, has allegedly left him to pursue a career in the film industry.

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