HP: COVID-19 victim's body cremated in open amid rally

Body of COVID-19 victim cremated in open in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi amid protest by locals

Representative image/Pixabay Image

The body of a woman who died due to COVID-19 was cremated in the open on the banks of ­­­Suketi Khud in Mandi district, amidst protest by local residents who objected to it over fear of catching the infection, officials said.

The woman had died at SLBS Medical College, Mandi, at Ner Chowk on Monday.

For latest updates and live news on coronavirus, click here

She belonged to the Ratti area of Ner Chowk, but the district administration decided to cremate her body on Tuesday at Dadour on the banks of Suketi Khud instead of at Ratti crematorium.

Residents of Dadour, Kansha Chowk and other adjoining areas opposed the decision to cremate her at Dadour instead of near her home.

The locals, led by members of Kansha and Dadour wards of Nagar Parishad Ner Chowk, lodged a strong protest with the district administration.

Some of them also tried to block the path of the team carrying the body.

They alleged that the district administration did not cremate the body at Ratti crematorium at the behest of influential, high-income group people and top businessmen.

CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL COVERAGE ONLY ON DH

The administration chose Dadour near an area inhabited by poor villagers, they alleged.

Ultimately, the body was cremated as per Hindu rituals in the open on the banks of Suketi Khud in the presence of police force, despite the protest. 

The deceased's husband, their two sons, Balh sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ashish Sharma, DSP Anil Patiyal, Ner Chowk Medical College's Senior Medical Superintendent Dr Devinder Sharma were also present.

Balh SDM Aashish Sharma said the site was the most-suited as Ratti was thickly populated.

If the public suggests some other site, the proposal may be sent to higher authorities for consideration, he added.

The local residents said that the district administration earlier too on May 16 cremated there the body of a COVID-19 positive Hamirpur youth who died at Medical College Ner Chowk.

Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases, deaths on May 27

At that time too, the locals opposed the move, but later agreed on humanitarian grounds as the deceased was from another district which was far away. But in the present case, the deceased was from the adjoining Ratti district.

They questioned why the administration did not decide to cremate her at Ratti crematorium and why she was cremated in the open.

Suman Chaudhary, a ward member from Kansha and Alam Ram, Ward Member Dadour, said the administration did not take the elected members of the area in confidence and selected the site at its own.

They said any such decision by the administration would be opposed in future too.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox