Kin disown Covid victims, MC performs last rites

Kin disown Covid victims, MC performs last rites

MC Secretary Jasdev Singh Sekhon, along with volunteers, perform the last rites of a Covid victim at a cremation ground in Ludhiana. Tribune photo

Harshraj Singh
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 6

After a woman died of Covid-19, the MC’s Covid Cremation Management Cell was requested to take the body of the deceased and cremate it. The MC’s Secretary Jasdev Singh Sekhon said the daughter-in-law of the deceased had contacted the cell as she had expressed her inability to cremate the body.

“It was a shocking moment for us when we reached the victim’s house and learnt that the husband and son of the deceased were at home but they did not come forward to perform the last rites. The body was lying on the first floor of the house. They were not ready to go near the body fearing infection. We took the body to the cremation ground and performed the last rites of the woman,” said Sekhon, who is the nodal officer looking after safety protocols at cremation grounds.

Similarly in a few other cases, when kin of those persons, who had succumbed to coronavirus, were either refusing or unable to perform last rites amid Covid-19 crisis, the Municipal Corporation’s Covid Cremation Management Cell ensured the dignified last rites of the dead.

The Covid Cremation Management Cell is operating under the supervision of the MC’s Joint Commissioner Swati Tiwana. A group of about 10 youngsters has been helping to perform the last rites of the persons, who died of the virus, for one year. This act of humanity of the MC is being appreciated.

In another case, a call was received at the cell that a man who came from outside Punjab died of the virus at his relative’s house in Ludhiana. As the relatives were not ready to cremate the body, the MC ensured the last rites.

“In some cases, kin did not go near the cremation site due to fear of catching infection but they were seen making videos from a far distance,” said an official.

Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said, “It is really sad when someone dies of Covid-19 but it is more heart-breaking when their families do not come forward to pay last respects and tributes. The Covid has exposed the dark side of society with some families in Ludhiana disowning their dear ones who die of Covid. In one case, the family of Covid-19 victim requested the MC for a video call while performing funeral.”

Sandhu said, “The cremation cell was working from arranging ambulances, fixing cremation time, firewood or LPG to getting the paperwork done and lighting the pyre. The MC has hired 10 youngsters on the DC’s rate and all of them are performing their duties adhering to Covid protocols.”

The MC Commissioner, Pardeep Kumar Sabharwal, said, “The cremation/burial while wearing PPE kits is really a tough job, especially when the temperatures are soaring high but the MC team is doing this job considering service to humanity. The MC will not step back and will make best efforts to cremate bodies in a respectful manner according to rituals/protocols.”

Officials of the MC and councillor Mamta Ashu exhorted those families disowning their deceased family members to shun their fears/myths about contracting the infection while cremation/burial and give respect to their loved ones for one last time. “Everybody would die one day and none would stay forever,” they added.

Joint Commissioner, MC, Swati Tiwana, who supervises the Covid Management Cell, which is being operated from Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, said, “Anyone can contact the cremation cell’s helpline numbers 9501500101, 7719712797 and 9501500102 for ensuring that the families of deceased persons face no issue in performing the last rites.

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