Body of Odisha cop who died of Covid-19 lay on hospital floor for hours
The police officer who died Friday evening tested positive for Covid-19 after his death.Updated: Jul 25, 2020 19:42 IST
Making a mockery of the state government’s claim of honouring Covid warriors who die in the line of duty, the body of a police officer who tested positive after death in Ganjam district lay in a hospital overnight before it was taken for funeral Saturday afternoon.
Assistant sub-Inspector of police Rabindranath Behera died Friday evening at Kodala community health centre of Ganjam district a few hours after he was admitted there. His antigen test showed positive for Covid-19. Behera, 55, who was posted at the Bhanjanagar court had returned home four days ago because he was not feeling well.
However, after his death, his family members did not come near the body fearing infection. The body was not kept in a mortuary. Some hospital staff then wrapped the body and kept it on the floor of the hospital attracting the attention of the patients coming to the hospital. As the news of the body lying unattended spread, the authorities quickly arranged a coffin. But as no cops were ready to shift the body into the coffin, two local journalists Bhagaban Padhi and Santosh Sethi with the help of hospital staff carried the body to the coffin after wearing PPE suits.
Ganjam’s superintendent of police Brijesh Ray said the local police officials including the Kodala police station inspector, sub divisional police officer, local BDO and other government officials gave a guard of honour to the policeman at the funeral Saturday afternoon.
“For the purpose of inquest, the dead body was kept on the pucca floor. We never compromise with the dignity of Covid warriors,” said the SP.
In Odisha, all policemen are considered Covid warriors. There was no explanation why the body was not shifted to the mortuary.
After the incident, special relief commissioner PK Jena issued a circular detailing the procedure and precautions to be taken at different levels for management of dead body of the suspect or confirmed cases of Covid-l9.
“The body is to be placed in a leak-proof plastic bag, exterior of the body bag decontaminated with 1% hypochlorite, wrapped with a mortuary sheet or the sheet provided by the family members and handed over to the relative of the deceased for cremation/burial. The family member(s) of the patient are allowed to view the body at the time of removal from the isolation room or area with the application of standard precautions. The ash also can be collected to perform the last rites. All these are to be performed including transportation of the body following due precautions and hygienic procedures,” said the circular
In another incident in Ganjam district on Friday, four journalists performed last rites of a retired headmaster as neighbours stayed away suspecting that he died of Covid-19.
Of the 10 Covid-19 casualties reported in Odisha on Saturday, three were from Ganjam district. So far 73 people in Ganjam district have died of Covid-19.
In April this year, the Odisha government had issued a resolution for giving a guard of honour to any private or government person dying on Covid duty.