Lal Bihari made countless rounds of police and government offices, but to no avail. Finally he decided to contest elections to draw attention to his problem: he had been declared officially dead. It took Bihari 16 years to get the government to recognise that he was in fact still alive. Relatives had him falsely proclaimed dead in order to seize his property.
The death toll from an outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in northern India rose to 664 on Monday with 18 more deaths as doctors appealed for more ventilators to save the lives of young patients. On Sunday, a state government spokesperson said more than 2 400 patients were lying in hospitals, often two to a bed.