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Indian police have rescued a 74-year-old man from a freezer where he was kept by his brother, after his family presumed that he had died.

Balasubramanian Kumar was critically ill and bed-ridden in his village of Kandhampatti in Tamil Nadu state when his family noticed he had stopped moving on Monday afternoon.

Assuming he had passed away, the family called for a freezer box to be delivered so that they could keep the body for the performance of last rites.

Yet when an employee of the freezer box company came to pick it up the next day, he noticed that the “body” was showing signs of movement.

The family was called and when they checked, they realised Mr Kumar was still breathing, at which point they called for help. Local media reports indicate that the man was kept in the freezer for around 20 hours.

Sub-inspector Rajasekaran of the Sooramangalam Police told The Independent that they were called to the house on Tuesday by the freezer box company, and that a case has been opened against the family members who declared Mr Kumar dead without a proper medical check.

The case has been filed under Sections 287 (negligent conduct to endanger human life) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code.

The incident has attracted national attention after a video report by a Tamil news channel that showed a video of Mr Kumar convulsing inside the freezer box. In the video, a man can be heard saying that his brother is dead, even as the man behind the camera tells him that Mr Kumar’s hand is shaking inside the box.

“His hands are trembling, how?” the person behind the camera asks. “Oh, it’s fits (seizures),” the brother, identified by Indian media as Saravanan, says. “How can that be possible if he’s dead?” the person asks, to which Saravanan responds: “His soul has not left him yet.”

The Tamil channel reported that Mr Kumar was then taken out of the freezer immediately and rushed to the local hospital in Salem city, where he is still undergoing treatment.

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