The novel coronavirus outbreak appears to have brought out the best and worst of humanity. With no cure for the often deadly virus available so far, those who test positive often find themselves cut off from any physical contact with their family and friends.
But there now appears to be no dignity even for the dead. Recently, a video surfaced on social media, purportedly of government workers in Puducherry unceremoniously tossing a lifeless body into what appears to be a pit or open grave.
The video shows four individuals wearing PPEs carrying a stretcher with a shroud covered form on it. They seem to have descended from an ambulance. The four individuals proceed to carry the person to the edge of the gave before simply tilting the stretcher and letting him tumble out an fall into the pit. They don't wait around, simply turning back to return the way they'd come with an empty stretcher.
The video was shared on Twitter by NDTV's J Sam Daniel Stalin.
According to an NDTV report, the man had been COVID-19 positive. The publication also quoted sources to add that he was a Chennai resident.
But if he had indeed been a COVID-19 patient, this also raises further questions as to why the government directives regarding funerals and the disposal of dead bodies was not followed. Based on the video, the man appears to have simply been wrapped in a white cloth -- which fell away as he tumbled into the grave.
This incidentally is in violation of the Health Ministry's directives regarding dead body management.
"Place the dead body in leak-proof plastic body bag. The exterior of the body bag can be decontaminated with 1% hypochlorite. The body bag can be wrapped with a mortuary sheet or sheet provided by the family members," the guidelines say.
Additionally, while the four men who carried the body were dressed in PPE suits, not everyone at the scene was thus attired. Some do not even seem to be wearing masks.
All of this, combined with the callous disregard with which the deceased was treated has triggered massive outrage, and the Puducherry Collector has reportedly ordered a probe into the incident.