Chennai Corporation rejects request for reburial of Dr. Simon Hercules

The Velangadu burial ground where Dr. Simon’s body was buried   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

The Chennai Corporation has rejected the request for reburial of the mortal remains of Dr. Simon Hercules had COVID-19 and who was buried in Velangadu, following protests by residents against the burial of the body in their neighbourhood.

In a press release on Saturday, the Chennai Corporation said a committee of public health experts has advised it not to permit reburial of the body to minimise risk to public health.

According to the press release, neurologist Dr. Simon Hercules (55) was admitted to Apollo Hospital on April 4 with fever and his test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on April 7. He was offered the best medical treatment, however he died on April 19 at 6 p.m. After the death was reported to the family, they requested officials to make arrangements to bury the body in a private cemetery in Kilpauk.

Chennai Corporation officials reportedly contacted the private cemetery authorities to permit them to bury the body in the night. After the authorities of the Kilpauk cemetery said they cannot permit burial at night, the civic officials decided to bury the body in the Chennai Corporation Christian Cemetery in the same area and requested the police for protection. When the civic officials started making arrangements to bury the body in the night, more than 400 residents opposed the move. The police and the civic officials decided to bury the body in another burial ground in Velangadu.

Over 60 residents in the neighbourhood also protested, damaging vehicles and injuring officials. Later, the body was buried in Velangadu, with relatives performing religious rites, at a safe distance from the body and adhering to all norms relating to public health, the release said.

Former IAS officer M.G. Devasahayam who has coordinated with the cemetery authorities and the Madras Mylapore Archdiocese in the past few days said: “It is unfortunate that Chennai Corporation has outright rejected the request of Ms Anandi Simon to give a decent reburial to the mortal remains of her late husband Dr. Simon Hercules, who died of Coronavirus virus on April 19.

“The Contention of Chennai Corporation that the doctor has already been given decent burial as per Christian rites is not supported by facts on the ground. The reasons given for the rejection are untenable and unconvincing. When Kilpauk Christian Cemetery authorities have themselves supported the decent burial there, it is unfair on the part of Chennai Corporation to reject it arbitrarily. There seem to be some external consideration. I would earnestly urge the Chennai Corporation and Government of Tamil Nadu to reconsider and accede to the genuine request of Ms Anandi Simon,” said Mr. Devasahayam.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 8:35:28 AM |

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