GMC's pre-Portuguese Konkani panchanamas in danger

PTI, PANAJI | 27 July 2013 17:17 IST

Even as Asia's oldest medical college in Goa is readying to move its forensic department to plush premises on August 15, shifting safely the six-decade-old records of police inquest 'panchnamas' is posing a challenge.

Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) authorities have asked state government to preserve the old police inquest 'panchanama' records which date back to as early as 1957, when Goa was under Portuguese rule.

The records are currently preserved in the old forensic medicine department building.

"We fear shifting them without expert advice because a slight mishandling can destroy them," Dr Silvano Sapeco, head of GMC's Forensic medicine department told PTI today.

The state government has been requested to get the assistance of Archives department to restore these records for its heritage value.

Sapeco said that right from 1957 the 'panchanamas' of the human bodies were written in Devnagri Konkani.

"It was sometimes later that they were being written in English," he added.

The number of inquest 'panchanamas' was around 100 a year but now their number has increased upto more than 1,000 annually, the doctor said, adding that all the records have been maintained by properly binding them in the room.

The GMC is readying itself to shift to an ultra-modern forensic medicine block which will have facilities like morgue, auditorium, museaum, lecture halls, medical examination halls and even counseling for women complaining of sexual harassment.

GMC administrator Swapnil Naik said the state government will consider these inquest 'panchanamas' which have emotional value.

"Much of these records are not required for any investigation purpose by police but certainly they have emotional value," he said.

The Goa Medical College was originally established during 1842 during Portugese colonial rule in this coastal state.

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