‘Act against those trying to stop last rites of victims’

A dead woman had to be taken to her native for cremation

The Dakshina Kannada unit of the Indian Red Cross Society said on Friday that the State government should invoke necessary provisions of the Disaster Management Act or any other legal provision at its disposal and take action against anyone preventing the last rites of victims of epidemic diseases.

This would work as an effective deterrent, it said and added that this will also infuse confidence among health workers who are rendering yeoman services to society.

The district administration faced stiff opposition from people near crematoria in different parts of Mangaluru for carrying out the last rites of a 75-year-old woman who died of COVID-10 in the city on April 23.

The body was then taken to the woman’s native place in Bantwal for cremation.

Yathish Baikampady, chairman, Disaster Management Committee of Indian Red Cross Society, said in the release that Bantwal MLA U. Rajesh Naik had offered a place in his private estate for performing the woman’s last rites.

It would place on record its appreciation of the MLA’s humanitarian act. Mr. Naik took the decision after consulting his family members and conveyed it to the district administration.

The MLA told the district administration that it was his duty to pay respects to the mortal remains of all human beings whatever be the cause of death, the Indian Red Cross Society said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Naik told The Hindu on Friday: “I was really pained to hear the opposition to cremating the body. I called officials at around 11 p.m. on Thursday and offered a place in my farmland for the purpose. It is sad that people are taking unfounded grounds to deny last rites to a COVID-19 victim.”

Strangely, he said, he started receiving calls on Friday morning from several people, including a few from abroad, offering their land for the woman’s last rites. “But none came forward with this offer on Thursday night,” he said.

People should not be carried away by unfounded grounds about the spread of COVID-19 but believe in the guidelines of the World Health Organization and the Union government which have ruled out that COVID-19 could spread through cremation/burial of victims of the pandemic, the MLA said.

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