Jacintha laid to rest at Shirva

Hordes of mourners throng sleepy hamlet

Jacintha laid to rest at Shirva

At sunset on Monday, the mortal remains of nurse Jacintha Saldanha were laid to rest at the cemetery of Our Lady of Church at Shirva amid emotional tributes by her husband Benedict, son Junal, daughter Lisha and thousands of people who had gathered to pay their last respects to the departed soul.

From the time Jacintha’s casket arrived at their Sorkol home and till her body was buried, Ben kept comforting Junal and Lisha who clung onto his shoulders. But when the final moment came, Ben hugged his children and broke into tears.

Three feet apart, Jacintha’s mother Carmine Saldanha, who was brought in a wheelchair, too, wept inconsolably, saying, “Why did you do that?” apparently referring to Jacintha’s decision to end life.

Earlier, Jacintha’s family friend and former neighbour Ronald Saldanha paid tributes to the nurse on behalf of both the families.

He recalled Jacintha’s school days, nursing days and her life after her marriage. He also narrated how Jacintha’s mother Carmine brought her up and her siblings, especially after the demise of her father when she was very young.

Public disappointed

Though it was announced that Jacintha’s mortal remains would be kept open for public homage, the last-minute decision of her family not to open the casket in the church disappointed a large number of people who had come from faraway places just to have a glimpse of the nurse.

Mourners who visited Ben’s home at Sorkol were allowed to see Jacintha’s face, but the family later decided to not open the casket inside the church, apparently to prevent media persons from taking photographs.

“The decision was taken fearing media rush,” said Stephen Almeida on behalf of Ben.
However, no photojournalist entered the church or took photographs following the family’s request.

Before the final procession from his home to the church, Ben himself closed the casket with the help of his son and siblings. Junal and Lisha in a joint tribute said: “We are shattered and there is an unfillable void in our lives. We love you, mum.”

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