After the family of a 78-year-old Hindu man, who died of a heart attack on Saturday, reportedly refused to perform his last rites, some Muslim youths from a local organisation lit his pyre on Sunday.
While the man died of a heart attack, his wife is undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at Akola Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). Prashant Rajurkar, head of the sanitation department of the Akola Municipal Corporation, told The Indian Express, “The man’s son, who lives in Nagpur, refused to accept the body and perform the funeral. So, a local Muslim organisation, Akola Kutchhi Memon Jamaat, took over the responsibility. On Sunday, some Muslim men lit the pyre at the crematorium.”
Akola is one of the largest coronavirus hotspots in Maharashtra with 25 deaths and more than 400 positive cases. Amravati Divisional Commissioner Piyush Singh said, “The wife of the deceased man was admitted to GMCH on May 23 around 4 pm. We took her swab as she was symptomatic. The dean of GMCH received a message around 6.30 pm that the man had collapsed at home. An ambulance was sent but he was dead. The wife’s report came out positive on the morning of May 24. As per protocol, they don’t take a swab from a dead body but swabs of close relatives are taken. So, reports are awaited.”
Javed Zakeria, president of the Muslim organisation, said, “After Akola reported its first death, we decided to perform funerals for those whose families are unable to do so. We had permission from the parents for the first one. Since then, we have performed 60 funerals, of which 21 were of Covid patients. Five of these were of Hindus.”
He also said his volunteers wore protective gear throughout, and in most cases stop after laying out the pyre. However, in Sunday’s funeral, they also lit the pyre, he added. While the man’s son could not be contacted, Rajurkar said he did not attend the funeral but provided Rs 5,000 for the ceremony. “Sunday’s funeral has angered some people. They are upset that the name of the deceased is out in the public domain, and the son is upset because of the media coverage,” he added.
Woman dies in Akola, toll climbs to 25
One more person died of Covid-19 at Akola on Monday taking the toll in the district to 25. The deceased was a woman, who was admitted to GMCH on May 19 and had tested positive on May 23. Akola has also crossed the 400-mark for Covid-19 cases. Nagpur also recorded a Covid-19 death on Monday, taking the toll to eight. Vidarbha region has 53 deaths now.
One more person died of Covid-19 at Akola on Monday taking the toll in the district to 25. The deceased was a woman, who was admitted to GMCH on May 19 and had tested positive on May 23. Akola has also crossed the 400-mark for positive Covid-19 cases. Nagpur also recorded a Covid-19 death on Monday, taking the toll to eight. Vidarbha region has 53 deaths now.
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