Virus victims’ kin shun last rites

Virus victims’ kin shun last rites

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 7

The family of a retired superintending engineer of Amritsar Municipal Corporation who died of Covid-19 yesterday refused to cremate his body. The administration had to step in today to perform 65-year-old Jaswinder Singh’s last rites and cremation.

The Fear Factor

  • In Amritsar, the family of retired MC engineer, who died of Covid-19, refused to attend his cremation
  • Even his daughter, a student of medicine, did not respond to the admn’s request to attend his last rites

No risk, says Govt

The transmission of Covid-19 is mainly through droplets. There is unlikely to be an increased risk of Covid infection from a dead body to health workers or family members who follow standard precautions. Only the lungs of dead Covid patients, if handled during an autopsy, can be infectious.

This is the second incident in the last two days in the state where families have refused to cremate Covid victims out of fear of contracting the infection. In Ludhiana yesterday, the district administration had to come forward to cremate a 69-year-old woman after her family refused to do so.

The retired MC official had tested positive two days ago and died yesterday. District officials said even the victim’s daughter who is studying medicine did not respond to the administration’s request to attend the cremation.

SDM Vikas Heera said the district administration appealed to the family after the hospital authorities failed to convince the family to cremate the victim. The family was asked to at least visit the cremation site to witness the ceremony but none of them turned up.

Finally, patwaris of the revenue department and municipal corporation workers carried the former MC official’s body and lit the pyre. Among those who paid the last respects to the deceased were Vikas Heera, ACP Jaspreet Singh, tehsildar Archana and SHO Gurinder Singh.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Shivdular Singh Dhillon said cremation poses no risk to the family as proper protocol is followed. He said as per the Indian Council of Medical Research directions the victim’s body is sealed in a body bag. “People should respect their loved ones who die of the disease,” said Dhillon.

Some villagers of Verka in Amritsar had objected to the cremation of former Hazoori ragi Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, who died of Covid on April 2, claiming that it would spread the virus in the area.


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