Odisha Special

COVID-19 Victims: No Dignity For Many Even In Deaths

Bhubaneswar: Losing a near-and-dear to the deadly Coronavirus is tragic but it is more heart wrenching when the members are not able to bid them a final goodbye or get them a dignified cremation/burial.

As the deadly virus is claiming lives all across the world, families are devastated as it first isolates your loved one from you by keeping them in the isolation ward. And when the victim succumbs, the family members are not even allowed to have a last look at the dead. As if that is not enough, there are cases of inhuman burials and patients’ kin are shunned due to stigma attached to the disease.

Over last few weeks India has seen a steep rise in the number of positive cases and subsequent deaths, there have been reports from across the country of people obstructing burials/cremations, of dumping the dead bodies in pits, of people not coming forward to help in normal death cases also believing it to be connected with the deadly virus.

Here are a string of cases which would shake the heart of every human being.

Inhumane burials

In a video which surfaced on social media, bodies of Covid patients were seen being dumped inhumanly in a pit. These videos are reportedly from Bellari in Karnataka. Similarly, another video cropped up from Yadgiri of Karnataka where similar disrespectful nature of the act was seen.

This video caused an uproar in the whole country but things haven’t changed.

Also Read: K’taka Field Team Fired For Dumping Covid Victims

JCB and dead bodies

A case was reported from Ganjam district of Odisha, where none of the relatives ventured near the body of a man who was suspected to have died due to Covid-19. His body was dragged by his brother and sister to be buried in a pit dug by JCB.

Also Read: Deceased COVID Suspect Dragged To Grave Dug By JCB In Ganjam

More shocking incident occurred in Devangere of Karnataka where a JCB was seen lifting up the mortal remains of a Covid patient and dump it in a pit.

COVID-19 positive’s kin face wrath

The virus has reshaped human relations in unprecedented ways.

In Odisha’s Ganjam district, a man died of heart failure on hearing that his son has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Reportedly, his body lay for hours as no one turned up to perform his last rites. Finally, a teacher with the help of some kind-hearted people did his last rites.

Also Read: No Relatives Turn Up For Last Rites Of COVID Positive’s Kin

In Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur, a woman committed suicide after her husband died in Covid isolation ward of the District Headquarters Hospital. She recorded an audio message before killing herself in which she has alleged that in spite of her fervent appeal, no one from her family turned up to help her in this hour of need.

Also Read: Jagatsinghpur COVID Ward Suicide: Deceased Alleges Being Abandoned By Family In Pre-Suicide Audio

Misinformation and Irrational fear among people

It is a known fact that people living around cremation ground cannot contract the disease only because of their proximity to the cremation site. But there are cases from across the nation where the dead bodies are obstructed from entering cremation ground or graveyard.

In April, dozens of Chennai residents did not allow an ambulance to enter a graveyard as they were afraid of being affected by the virus.

Similarly, in Shillong people obstructed the cremation of a renowned doctor and the State’s first Coronavirus patient. He was later cremated at a different place.

In Punjab, Padma Shri winner Nirmal Singh Khalsa died of the disease in April. His cremation was also stalled as people feared that the smoke raised during cremation can infect villagers.

In Kapurthala of Punjab, a man reportedly refused to accept his mother’s body or perform her last rites after she died of COVID-19, despite the officials offering to provide him protective gear. Later, she was cremated by the officials.

Hassles In Cremation and Burials

In some places, where the number of casualties is very high, there are hassles related to COVID-19 deaths begin much before the body leaves for cremation.

Ambulances not reaching on time, relatives refusing to claim the body of their loved ones, families insisting on carrying out last rites despite clear guidelines against the same, and the trauma of moving from one burial ground to the other, for a lack of space and overcrowding of bodies are some of the issues that citizens have now to grapple with.

It can be safely concluded that Coronavirus has made death just a number. As the above cases point out, it has not only killed people but has also killed its dignity.


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