Covid worry: Kin gained’t acquire victims’ ashes

Subhash Rajta

Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 4

Covid-19 is not only claiming lives, but also denying last rites to many of its victims.

At a crematorium in Shimla, ashes of at least 65 victims are awaiting immersion by their loved ones.

“We have been waiting for the past many days for the family members to show up and collect the ashes. Unfortunately, not many are coming forward,” said Sanjay Sood, chief of Sood Sabha that runs the Kanlog crematorium.

“Now, we have decided to conduct mass immersion, preferably at Haridwar or Tatapani. We will inform the administration so that there’s no problem in case someone turns up later,” he said.

“I don’t know what is stopping the families from collecting the ashes. The fear of catching the infection from the ashes is bizarre,” he said.

Covid nodal officer at the IGMC Dr Balbir Verma says, “A body can have the virus, so there’s a proper protocol to handle and cremate it. But once it’s burnt, there’s no possibility of the virus remaining in the ashes. Any fear in that regard is totally misplaced and irrational.”

Sociology professor of at HPU Mohan Jharta says, “Maybe the loss of their loved one and the fear of Covid-19 are pushing people to withdraw from such rituals. However, they don’t seem much concerned when it comes to attending weddings and other gatherings. It’s a contradiction that’s difficult to understand and explain.”

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