Humanity takes a back seat, even during pandemic times -
Humanity takes a back seat, even during pandemic times
Posted 15 May 2020 05:34 PM



Even as we continue to observe an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths due to the pandemic, the humanity remains to take a back seat with camera-friendly philanthropists posing to extend helping hands just to gather praises and gaining popularity.

Shameful, it could be said, for the city of temples – Jammu, which otherwise is considered a region of tolerant residents when last rites of a senior citizen from Preet Nagar locality were denied on 13th of May 2020 on the grounds that since the 70-year-old man had died of Corona infection and his cremation would further spread the contagion in the locality. And, the denial had come from none other than a local councilor. Weird enough, isn’t it, for her behavior, as to what could be expected of a corpse of a dead man? Did she wanted the body to be kept or thrown away?

While funeral rites, in either of the ways – burning or burial, has the least chances of infection spread, disallowing of the rites could, however, further give rise to the spread of the infection. But where is the need for logic? Isn’t a denial of the last rites the biggest humiliation for the dead soul?

Notwithstanding the truthness or falsification of the story that goes around the hospital or mortuary, even that the man had Corona or died of some other ailment, the denial of rites by the councilor is not something that could be taken in good taste even if she has done so under a pressure from her voters or the residents of the area. Was she just trying to consolidate her vote bank?

The councilor’s plea that she opposed the performance of last rites as the people of the locality feared spread of infection holds no strength as the body had already been brought, it remained in the locality for some time till the drama was going on. Whatever infection the body was supposed to spread had already been spread by the time it was taken back to the hospital. Also, there are various quarantine zones established by the Government in the schools, hotels, hostels, which are located in densely populated localities.

According to the news reports after residents led by the councilor didn’t allow the deceased’s cremation at Jogi Gate crematorium on Wednesday night fearing that it would spread the infection in the area, the body was brought back to the mortuary of the hospital. On Thursday, it was taken to another facility in Shastri Nagar and finally cremated by the hospital staff in the presence of two family members of the deceased. However, at Shastri Nagar crematorium also, the locals objected to the cremation, but the district officials and police intervened in time and the body was cremated.

However what raises doubts over the functioning of the government hospital, the relatives allege that the deceased did not have any corona infection before he was brought to the hospital after a mild attack.

According to news reports quoting a relative the deceased had no symptoms of Covid infection but after the hospital officials declared him brought dead insisted for Covid test to which the family readily agreed. However, no such positive test report was given to the family members, the news reports suggest. There are also allegations over the hospital of not covering the body as per the given protocol that applies to the Covid dead as per the MHA guidelines. Even after a lot of long-overhaul, no mortuary staff or health worker was available to handle the corpse as is required under SOPs and for shifting the body to the ambulance which was allegedly done by the relatives.

How callous it appears as it has also been alleged that there was no one from mortuary staff or health worker available at GMC Hospital for sanitizing or undertaking other procedures, covering the corpse with protective kit etc on the very first day and it was the family members who themselves did all process of shifting the body to the ambulance, taking it for cremation, taking back the corpse to the mortuary on denial of the funeral and again taking the dead body for the cremation next day to the other cremation yard.

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