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Thursday, July 29, 2021

SC takes note of letter seeking ‘martyr’ status for Covid warriors

Kakkalameli said said no state was respectful of their "sacrifice", and that merely announcing compensation to kin was not only insufficient but "unjust".

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
Updated: August 14, 2020 10:51:49 pm
The state Department of Health said 2,439 patients were still in government quarantine, while 77,260 people remain in home isolation.

In response to a letter highlighting the issue of the right to dignity after death, the Supreme Court has taken cognizance of the communication seeking recognition of “martyr” status for “Covid-19 warriors” who die of the viral infection.

Lawyer Manjunath Kakkalameli, who practises in Bombay High Court and district court of Solapur, had written to the Chief Justice of India, highlighting the issue of frontline workers, such as healthcare professionals and police personnel, being treated as “deaths due to Covid-19” after succumbing to the infection.

“The Supreme Court has taken cognizance of my letter and converted it into a PIL. The hearing will be held soon,” Kakkalameli said.

“We all are safe because Covid warriors, healthcare professionals and police personnel, are fighting on the frontline. In such a situation, it is at most the duty of the state government and every citizen to honour, respect, and recognise their effort and sacrifice,” he said.

He also said no state was respectful of their “sacrifice”, and that merely announcing compensation to kin was not only insufficient but “unjust”. They deserve respect after death and should be declared “martyrs”, he added.

The lawyer said after death, neither did Covid warriors receive state cremation, burial, or funeral nor were they awarded martyr status, while pointing out that the Republic of China awarded a doctor, Li Wenliang, as “martyr”. Also, the Odisha government on April 22 had declared that health workers and support service providers, who die of Covid-19 in the line of duty under formal deployment by the state, would get martyr status and a state funeral will be ensured for them along with full salary to their kin.

Kakkalameli added that to motivate them, it was the duty of the state to honour and recognise the “unparalleled sacrifice” of Covid warriors.

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