Former India international Kannan’s last rites delayed as wives fight over dead body

The former forward, who played 14 matches for India, died following a prolonged illness on Sunday. He is survived by wife Antoinette and two daughters.

P. Kannan scores against Malaysia in a Merdeka Cup Soccer Tournament game in Kuala Lumpur on August 11, 1968. Malaysia recovered to win 2-1. (Published in The Sportstar on August 29, 1981)   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Former India footballer P Kannan’s body was left in the morgue for three days and was finally sent to Bengaluru for cremation, following a bitter feud between one of his two former wives and the current wife.

The former forward, who played 14 matches for India, died following a prolonged illness on Sunday. He is survived by wife Antoinette and two daughters.

But at the time of the body’s release, Kannan’s first wife Vijay Laxmi flew down from Bengaluru to claim possession, producing marriage certificate.

During the controversy, it also came to light that Kannan also had a third wife, who is not traceable. The dead body remained at the Gora Bazar morgue in Dum Dum for three days.

“The issue is sorted and his first wife took the body to Bengaluru after Antoinette relented,” South Dum Dum councillor Sanjoy Das told PTI.

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Kannan’s Kolkata-based wife Antoinette said she has given a no-objection letter.

“I’ve given a no-objection letter and handed over the body to them. I’ve all the documents. I took care of him when he was alive and needed me. There’s no point fighting over a dead body. It’s just a log. As a wife, I have done my duty. I gave him everything that he needed,” Antoinette told PTI.

“I’ve been married to him since 1975. It’s been a long time. And when he was hospitalised, I was with him. There’s no point running for the dead body. He may have 10 wives but they have not done anything for him when he was alive. I didn't know about his marriage,” she added.

The former Mohun Bagan and East Bengal forward was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis. Heart problems compounded his misery.

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Kannan was one of the few players of extraordinary calibre to have come to Bengal as he plied his trade both in Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and also represented India at the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games and 1968 Meredeka Cup before leaving the pitch in 1982.

He also top scored in the Santosh Trophy for Bengal twice in a row (1971-73).

Legendary German coach Dettmar Cramer called him the ‘Pele of Asia’ in 1968 when he was invited by the AIFF to conduct a two-week coaching in Mumbai.

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