Ignorance and irrational fears obstructing coronavirus funerals in Dima Hasao

Haflong, September 28, 2020: In-spite of awareness and constant appeal from the government in coordination with the enlightened local people of the society in Dima Hasao, cases of people preventing the cremation and burial of people who died of COVID-19 have been seen among the few ignorant and uninformed people shattering all dignity of the dead person.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India and also the Assam Govt, had already issued guidelines regarding disposal of bodies of corona virus infected patients. Cadavers do not transmit disease, stated Dr. Dipali Barman, Jt. Director of Health Services, Dima Hasao at the meeting held at the DC Conference hall where gaonburas, representative of the ‘Samshan” committees and departmental officers were present. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Commissioner, Paul Barua in presence of DSP Borkiri Terang and Asst Commissioner Hemango Nobis. As per the guidelines, both cremation and burial are allowed as per the faith of the deceased. However, there are certain measures that have to be followed. Also, ‘minimum touch’ with the body is to be ensured. Still there has been resentment among the few sections in the society.

DC Paul Barua said, “People obstructing burials or cremations is denying a person the dignity in death because of irrational fears therefore if needed be, having no other resort left we might use forces and handle the matter legally to curb those spreading misinformation and rumor”.

DSP, Borkiri Terang appealed to the people present at the meeting to understand the sentiment of those family where death has occurred and such inhuman treatment for a meager irrational believe is unacceptable. He also briefed about how unlawful such acts are considered and might even led to arrest of such culprits under various sections of law. Requesting people to abstain from responding to any rumour, he also warned in general to refrain from posting any unlawful misinformation or pictures on social media which will be dealt with as per IT Act.

All basic minimum standard precautions are being followed by health workers while handling bodies, including hand hygiene; use of personal protective equipment including gloves, masks etc; safe handling of sharps; disinfecting bag housing the body; and disinfecting linen covering it.

Concluding the meeting Deputy Commissioner has requested the gaon-buras and the representatives present to come to a common contentious with the people of their community about cremation ground or burial ground and thus inform the District administration on an urgent basis in-order to avoid any such hindrances and inconvenience further in case if any death occurs due to COVID-19.