Ghaziabad: Urns left unattended at Hindon crematorium, volunteers step in
The Hindon Cremation Ground in Ghaziabad had been the site of many cremations over the last month as Covid-19 ravaged the city and neighbouring areas. But now it is seeing another tragedy: urns carrying ashes of Covid victims lay unattended at the site and dumping of bodies.
“We had 48 urns unattended and 18 of these were Covid-related deaths. The other 30 were of unclaimed/unidentified bodies that the police gave us,” said Manish Pandit, the president of Shri Dharmik Ramchandra Sitadevi Harnandi Sewa Sansthan (SDRSHSS) that cremates bodies at the ground. The unattended urns were of cremations from mid-April till the last week of May. “We waited for their families. We generally ask them to take the ashes within a day or two. But no one turned up for weeks. So, we collected all the set of ashes and performed their last rites as per desired rituals at Garhmukteshwar.”
“During the past one week, we even had people dumping bodies at night before fleeing. Two of the six bodies we got this way were in body bags, the same we see with Covid victims. We cremated the bodies and also performed the immersion ritual,” said Pandit.
He said that they had around 350 unclaimed urns since last year and about 60-70 of these were related to Covid-19.
“Last year too, we performed the last rituals the same way. Members of Khalsa Help International accompanied us to Garhmukteshwar then too,” Pandit added.
Gurpreet Singh, founder member from Khalsa Help International, said that they will go again this year too.
“We got to know that families don’t turn up to collect ashes due to the pandemic. So, we went to Garhmukteshwar along with members of SDRSHSS and helped in the immersion. We are again planning to do the same activity this year as well,” Singh said.
The seers said that immersion of ashes is a vital ritual and ideally be taken up within three days of cremation.
“It is maintained that our body is made up of five elements. So, the water part should go to water. So, the immersion is taken up at rivers or water bodies,” said Mahant Narayan Giri, the mahant of ancient Dudheshwar Nath Temple in Ghaziabad,
As per the state control room figures of May 30, the second wave of the ongoing pandemic resulted in 334 deaths this year. Till December 31, 2020, the toll was 102.
The officials of the municipal corporation said that immersion of pending ashes is done in cases where families don’t turn up.
“So, there is no option, and the associations take ashes and perform immersion activity as per Hindu rituals,” said Pramod Kumar, additional municipal commissioner.