COVID-19 doctor victim's body denied exhume, re-burial

Chennai corporation declines nod to exhume COVID-19 doctor victim's body

Civic authorities on Saturday turned down a plea for exhuming the body of a doctor who died of COVID-19 here and burying it in another cemetery, citing health experts' view that it was unsafe to do so. Citing a request from the wife of the deceased doctor to allow exhumation and then re-burial at a cemetery in Kilpauk, the Greater Chennai Corporation said it sought a report from a committee of public health experts to ascertain the feasibility of entertaining her plea.

The spouse of the doctor had appealed to the GCC on April 22 to exhume and bury again her husband's body. She had said that burial in the Kilpauk cemetery here was her husband's last wish and he had conveyed it to her before he was put on a ventilator.

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The report of experts has said that "it is not safe" to exhume and again bury the body of a COVID-19 victim and hence "it is not possible to accept her request," the GCC said in an official release. On April 19, a city-based 55-year-old neurosurgeon died of coronavirus and his burial at the Velangadu crematorium here was marred by violence.

A mob which falsely feared that the burial may lead to the spread of contagion had attacked the corporation health employees and associates of the deceased doctor. The doctor's wife and son also had to leave the burial ground in view of the violence.

The body was brought to Velangadu as people of Kilpauk area had opposed his burial there. Over a dozen men involved allegedly in violence were arrested and remanded to judicial custody. Later, in a video message, the surgeon's wife had said that it was her husband's last wish to be interred at the Kilpauk cemetery as per Christian rituals

 Chief Minister K Palaniswami and DMK president M K Stalin had spoken to her on Wednesday over the phone and condoled her husband's death.