Tribune News Service
Mohali, April 3
Moved by the incident that took place on Thursday in which cremation of the body of renowned ‘Ragi’ and Padam Shri Nirmal Singh was opposed owing to his demise from COVID-19, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu made an appeal to the public not to panic as cremation of coronavirus positive patient’s body does not pose any additional threat.
Sensitising the public, the crematorium and burial ground staff, he reiterated that the cremation has no adverse effects if proper protocols are adhered to.
So much so that the even the ash does not pose any risk and can even be collected to perform the last rites, he added.
He said as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the crematorium and burial ground staff need to ensure hand hygiene and use of masks and gloves.
Besides, the viewing of the body by unzipping the face end of the body bag (by the staff using standard precautions) may be allowed, for the relatives to see the body for one last time and religious rituals such as reading from religious scripts, sprinkling holy water and any other last rites that does not require touching of the body are allowed.
But, the bathing, kissing, hugging of the body is not allowed and the funeral and burial staff and family members should perform hand hygiene after the cremation.
Apart from this, large gathering at the crematorium and burial ground should be avoided as a social distancing measure, he cautioned.
Meanwhile, strongly condemning the denial of permission to cremate the mortal remains of Nirmal Singh Khalsa on Thursday, MLA from Jalandhar Cantt Pargat Singh said it was a black spot on the entire humanity.
In a statement issued here on Friday, the MLA said this was an inhuman and unfortunate incident which had shattered every human being across the world.
He said that this type of incident in Punjab, which is the land of great Gurus and prophets, was totally unimaginable.
Pargat Singh said it was against the basic philosophy of Sikhism which has shown us the way of religious tolerance, humanity and compassion.
The MLA said this incident has bruised the psyche of every individual in general and every Sikh in particular.
He said it was unfortunate that at a time when eyes from across the globe were rolling tears on demise of the learned scholar, people here in Punjab were busy in denying land for his cremation.
Pargat Singh said this has exposed the myopic mindset of some individuals before the world.
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