Residents prevent burial of COVID-19 victim in Bengaluru

Published : July 17, 2020 18:53 IST

Residents of M.S. Palya, Bengaluru, argue with health workers and protest against the cremation of a COVID-19 victim’s body in a cemetery in their area on July 16. Photo: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI

Residents of M.S. Palya in north Bengaluru refused to allow the burial of the body of an 86-year-old man who passed away due to COVID-19 on July 16. When they found out that his body was being brought to the cemetery, the residents prevented the ambulance by laying large drainage pipes made of cement on the road. This, even after a burial spot was identified and made ready. As the ambulance neared the spot, the residents forced the ambulance to return, saying that COVID patients could not be buried in their area. Even the intervention of Y.L. Praveen, the Police Inspector of Vidyaranyapura station under whose jurisdiction M. S. Palya falls, was to no avail.

According to a local resident, the area has more than 480 houses in which many senior citizens reside. “We will not allow the burial to take place here,” he said. While the residents allowed the burial pit to be dug, they changed their minds when they realised that the person had died because of complications arising from COVID-19. Since the residents stood their ground, the ambulance was forced to leave the area after a stand-off that lasted almost two hours.

Tanveer Ahmed, who is part of an informal alliance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) called Mercy Mission, which has been assisting people many burials in the city, said: “I don’t know why the residents prevented the burial. I can’t understand why they had this notion that COVID-19 would spread from a dead body. In spite of following all the protocols, we had to return without burying the body.” The body lay in a freezer box until it was allowed to be buried in the Hosur Road Christian Cemetery.

There has been an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru with more than 70 deaths taking place in the city on July 16.