Odisha Corona Warrior’s body cremated after 3 hrs as neighbours object
An anganwadi supervisor who worked in a quarantine centre in Kankarada village of Sanakhemundi block, had come home on June 28 after she developed symptoms of Covid-19 and was advised home quarantine.Updated: Jul 14, 2020 00:00 IST
The body of a woman working in a Covid-19 quarantine centre could not be cremated for almost three hours in Odisha’s Ganjam district, as the neighbours shunned it over fears of Covid-19 infection, her husband has claimed.
K Asanta Patra, a 55-year-old anganwadi supervisor who worked in a quarantine centre in Kankarada village of Sanakhemundi block, had come home on June 28 after she developed symptoms of Covid-19 and was advised home quarantine.
On Saturday afternoon, she complained of breathing problems after which her husband Dukhishyam Patra rushed her to a government hospital in Berhampur town. However, she died in on the way to the hospital. Failing to get a hearse van or ambulance to take the body back to the village, Patra brought the body back in an autorickshaw.
However, his neighbours put up a stiff resistance asking him to take back the body. “Many of them verbally abused me saying my wife must have died of Corona while others threatened to beat me up for bringing my wife’s body to my home. Seeing the anger of my neighbours, I ran away with the body,” he said.
Dukhishyam and his mentally-challenged sister took the body to the cremation ground in the autorickshaw. He left his sister there to arrange for wood and other material needed for cremation. A team of officials soon arrived on the spot and took swab samples from the body after which they were sent to another place for cremation.
Though the deceased woman’s test report is yet to come, two of her sisters have tested positive for Covid-19. Her husband, sister-in-law, mother-in-law’s reports are yet to come but they have been admitted in a Covid hospital in Ganjam as precaution.
Patra, who runs a grocery shop in Shriramnagar area of Berhampur town, said he was shocked at the way the neighbours behaved. “It’s all very well to hail the Corona warriors like my wife. But in reality, Corona warriors get no dignity,” he said.
Refuting the claims of the dead woman’s husband, Ganjam district collector Vijay Kulange later tweeted that the woman’s body was cremated with dignity.
In May, lakhs of Odias in and outside the state had sung ‘Bande Utkala Janani’, Odisha’s state song to show gratitude to ‘Covid warriors’ like doctors, nurses and other frontline workers. On Sunday too, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had appreciated them for their work.
In Ganjam district, at least 600 Covid Warriors have been infected with the virus of whom about half a dozen have died.