Mitesh Bhuvad

Chandigarh: In Punjab as family members have been staying away to perform the last rites of suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease, it is government functionaries who have been coming forth and doing rituals religiously.

Of 79 patients, in 7 corona deaths, 3 such instances came. In the latest instance on April 5, the last rites of a woman were performed by officials in Ludhiana city as the family refused to cremate the body fearing transmission of virus.

In another case, the cremation was performed by revenue staff as the entire family was in quarantine. In a third incident in Amritsar last week, people did not allow a place in village for cremating Padma Shri Nirmal Singh Khalsa, former Hazoori Raagi of the Golden Temple.

“The (last rites) document may be comprehensive but the real trouble lies when nobody, including the sons and daughters as well as staff at the cremation ground, are willing to touch the body,” special chief secretary KBS Sidhu, in-charge to monitor statewide cases, tweeted. “It is here field revenue agency, with tehsildars and naib tehsildars at the forefront, does the job.

Stressing the need to recognise and encourage the officers and officials who went above and beyond the call of duty, Sidhu quoted the case of Harbhajan Singh, who died of covid-19 on March 29 at Moranwali village in Hoshiarpur district.

“His entire family was in isolation ward as they had tested positive. Nobody from the village came forward to assist in performing the last rites,” he said.

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