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Residents oppose cremation of COVID-19 victim, rites put off

The authorities decided to postpone the cremation following a protest by the locals led by a municipal councillor. The protesters blocked the entrance of the crematorium at Muttambalam run by the Kottayam municipality, alleging that the body of an 83-year-old man was brought for cremation and that endangered the lives of people in the area.

PTI | Kottayam | Updated: 26-07-2020 22:59 IST | Created: 26-07-2020 22:59 IST
Residents oppose cremation of COVID-19 victim, rites put off

Kottayam (Kerala), July 26 (PTI): Denying a dignified farewell to a COVID-19 victim, number of local residents here on Sunday prevented the cremation, saying they fear contracting the viral infection, district authorities said. The authorities decided to postpone the cremation following a protest by the locals led by a municipal councillor.

The protesters blocked the entrance of the crematorium at Muttambalam run by the Kottayam municipality, alleging that the body of an 83-year-old man was brought for cremation and that endangered the lives of people in the area. Also, they alleged the body was brought to the common crematorium after a church refused to allow burial in its cemetery.

On hearing this, Kottayam MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and his supporters intervened and decided not to perform the last rites. A decision on the issue would be taken on Monday, they said.

The incident was reported on a day Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed anguish over stigmatising COVID-19 patients and denial of a dignified farewell to people who succumb to the virus. Earlier in the day, the Vice-President said such instances were uncalled for and urged the local communities and society to prevent their recurrence.

In a Facebook post, he said,"The need of the hour is to fight prejudice and nip it in the bud. Otherwise, it can become more toxic than fake news and misinformation. Referring to incidents wherein people oppose providing a space for burial of those who died of COVID-19, he said it was unacceptable and goes against the age-old Indian tradition of being in solidarity with the bereaved families.

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