Other States

Husband waits for hours to perform wife’s last rites in Odisha

The victims's sister kept guard of the body left lying on the ground.

The victims's sister kept guard of the body left lying on the ground.  

The incident had taken place in the Srinamnagar area of Berhampur city where K. Asanta Patra, an anganwadi supervisor, died of COVID-19 symptoms on Saturday.

The husband of an anganwadi supervisor, a COVID-19 warrior, was reportedly left to wait with his wife’s body for hours as he received no help in performing her last rites in Ganjam, one of the worst-hit districts in Odisha.

The incident had taken place in the Srinamnagar area of Berhampur city where K. Asanta Patra, an anganwadi supervisor, died of COVID-19 symptoms on Saturday.

The administration is yet to inform the family if she had tested positive for the virus. However, all her family members were found to be COVID-19 positive.

“My wife worked in Sanakhemundi block. After she felt uneasy, she returned to Berhampur last Monday. When my wife complained of a mild fever, I gave her paracetamol tablets. Her condition deteriorated on Saturday,” said Dukhishyam Patra, the husband of the deceased.

‘No response’

“No ambulance responded to our calls. An auto-rickshaw was finally arranged to shift her to a hospital. But before doctors could see her in the city hospital, she was declared dead,” said Mr. Patra.

Using the same auto-rickshaw, Mr. Patra took the body to a cremation ground where he kept calling his friends and family, but no one responded. Finally, he arranged the wood for her rites while his sister kept guard of the body left lying on the ground.

Administration officers reached the ground after three hours and the body was finally cremated, said Mr. Patra. The deceased’s two sisters — an anganwadi worker and an ASHA workers — are already in a COVID-19 hospital after testing positive.

When the images of the body in the cremation ground went viral on social media, Ganjam District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said that the “corona warrior died on the way to the hospital. Her husband brought the body back. Sub-divisional District Magistrate, Berhampur and tahasildar reached the spot immediately. Swab was collected and the body was cremated with dignity. Please avoid rumours”.

Situation worsens

Meanwhile, the situation in Ganjam, the home district of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, appears to have spiralled out of control. The government on Monday reported that the total active cases in the State reached 13,737. As many as 4,147 positive cases were reported in the district, which constitutes 30.18% of the State’s tally. Over 70 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in Odisha so far. Ganjam, with 43 deaths, has reported 61.42% of the State’s fatalities.

Since the beginning of July, Ganjam has been reporting an average of more than 200 COVID-19 positive cases. Despite the State government opening the highest number of quarantine centres and deputing a large group of senior officers to the district, the situation is gradually worsening. More than 500 COVID warriors, including government officers, doctors, police personnel, teachers, anganwadi workers and ASHA workers, have tested positive for the virus in the district.

Borders closed

The borders of Berhampur were sealed off and the administration said that they would not to let anyone enter and exit the city.

The Ganjam administration has also announced that all government officers would be tested before being assigned for COVID-19 duty.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 8:29:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/husband-waits-for-hours-to-perform-wifes-last-rites-in-odisha/article32072685.ece

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