New Delhi: Mass cremation of COVID-19 victims at Old Seemapuri Crematorium as coronavirus cases surge, in New Delhi, Friday, April 23, 2021.
New Delhi: Mass cremation of COVID-19 victims at Old Seemapuri Crematorium as coronavirus cases surge, in New Delhi, Friday, April 23, 2021.
(PTI Photo)

Never has the need to dispose of the dead been greater in the national Capital than now. More so since crematoriums are swamped with Covid-afflicted fatalities. Result: Delhi resident Nitish Kumar was forced to keep his dead mother’s body at home for nearly two days while he searched for space in the city’s crematoriums, reports Reuters.

Exasperated, Kumar on Thursday cremated his mother in a makeshift, mass cremation facility in a parking lot adjacent to a crematorium. "I ran pillar to post but every crematorium had some reason to rebuff me... one said it had run out of wood," said Kumar, wearing a mask and squinting his eyes that were stinging from the smoke blowing from the burning pyres, the Reuters copy adds.

Jitender Singh Shunty who runs a non-profit medical service, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal, said as of Thursday afternoon 60 bodies had been cremated at the makeshift facility in the parking lot and 15 others were still waiting.

"No one in Delhi would have ever witnessed such a scene. Children who were 5 years old, 15 years old, 25 years old are being cremated. Newlyweds are being cremated. It's difficult to watch," said a teary-eyed Shunty.

Shunty, dressed in protective gear and a bright yellow turban, said last year during the peak of the first wave the maximum number of bodies he helped cremate in a single day was 18, while the average was eight to 10 a day.

On Tuesday, 78 bodies were cremated in that one place alone, he said.

Kumar said when his mother, a government healthcare worker, tested positive 10 days ago, the authorities could not find a hospital bed for her.

"The government is not doing anything. Only you can save your family. You are on your own," he said.

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