Berhampur, July 10 (LocalWire): Cremation of bodies and performing the last rites of a person as per Hindu traditions has now become an uphill task for family members of the deceased due to the stigma attached to COVID-19.
The cremation procession which otherwise used to draw a crowd of relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances, is now boycotted by all people, even relatives, due to the stigma of coronavirus.
In several cases, the district administration and the police were forced to cremate the bodies of the dead.
The latest in a series of such incidents was reported from Sorada on Thursday, where the local police, Tahsildar and NAC staff were forced to extend help to carry the body of a 63-year old man who had died due to ailments.
The deceased was identified as Rajendra Suar. Despite, his younger son repeatedly requesting the neighbors to help in his father’s cremation, none of them came forward suspecting the man might have died of Covid-19, as his elder son was tested for the same.
The body was carried in a vehicle to the cremation ground with the help of the police and Tahsildar, while the deceased’s son performed the last rites wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
“When nobody came forward to carry the body, we had to coordinate his cremation,” said inspector in-charge, Sorada Ramesh Chandra Pradhan.
Even though the COVID test of the deceased was not conducted before his death, the villagers did not come to carry the body out of fear of infection as his elder son had tested COVID positive and was undergoing treatment, he said.
Similarly, the cremation of E. Suba Rao (85) was conducted by only his two sons along with a handful of volunteers after his death at Nuapada in Chikiti block on Wednesday.
“This is another crisis amid the COVID-19 crisis, and it needs the attention of the administration.
There is a need to sensitize people so as to remove the stigma attached with COVID-19,” said Rabindra Nath Patra, Secretary of the Institute of Social Action and Research Activities (ISARA), a Berhampur-based NGO.