The row of packed corpses lined up on the floor in front of the morgue of the Government Hospital of Sri Venkateswara Ramnarain Ruia’s government painted a bleak picture.
Though they came from different family backgrounds, socio-economic classes, castes, and religions, they all reached the morgue as corpses, and their relatives were unable to perform the final rites. In a moving gesture, the government arranged for the final rites to be performed for the 21 people who had died of COVID-19. Garlands were offered to the bodies and the rituals performed according to their social customs.
MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, who performed the final rites by putting on a PPE suit, carried the bodies in procession. He expressed his regret at how even blood relatives, seized with fear and guilt, observed the rituals from afar. “When a whole family dies, the bodies are unclaimed. This is not an economic problem, but a humanitarian one. We need to get rid of fear and of course, decently say goodbye to the deceased by taking precautions, ”he added. Mr Reddy was infected with COVID-19 twice last year.
Maha Prasthanam, a Rotary Club-supported organization, carried out the final rites for Hindu bodies, while the Muslim JAC took charge of the burial of the bodies of their parishioners.