A 70-year-old retired Tamil Nadu government worker and resident of Nagari town died on Tuesday after his 40-year-old son was sent to a quarantine facility in Tirupati last week for covid-19. It was reported that he had starved for a week, relying only on water and tea before his death.
Family members and neighbors were scared to come and help with the burial arrangements; it would seem that they thought he died of covid-19. However, the Nagari police gave him a decent farewell. After the last rites were performed, the son too died reportedly after being tested positive for the virus, taking the total deaths in Chittoor district to seven.
It was also reported that the man’s son was a lorry driver; he showed symptoms of the virus so, he was transferred to a quarantine center in Tirupati from Nagari on June 24 night. The father who was a widower, returned home and reportedly confined himself to a rickety room. Since then, he stopped eating.
Meanwhile his son’s wife, grandchildren and relatives who live in the same area, kept themselves away from the man.
Even before his son’s test reports came, fear-stricken people living turned the locality into an undeclared red zone.
According to Hindu reports, a boy who usually supplies milk, knocked the door of the elderly man’s door on Tuesday, but there was no response. On his return at noon, there was still no response. He then saw the man’s lifeless body through the window; neighbors suspected that he might have died of COVID-19 so they refused to go near the house.
A student of the locality is said to have informed the Superintendent of Police (SP) S. Senthil Kumar via message, who then instructed Nagari Circle-Inspector K. Maddaiahchari to handle the matter.
“Even his family members and relatives refused to come out. A neighbor just threw a crowbar to help us break the door and bring out the body. After the job was done, there was none to claim the crowbar back,” said the Inspector.
Amidst stiff opposition by some locals, who refused to allow the body into the burial ground on the outskirts, Mr. Maddaiahchari accomplished the task by late Tuesday evening. Interestingly, the elderly man was declared negative for the virus after his death.
Immediately after his funeral, report reached the daughter-in-law that the elderly man’s son (her husband) died around 8 pm that same evening at Tirupati’s COVID hospital.
The following day being Wednesday morning, the Nagari police had to intervene again to arrange a vehicle for the woman and her children to go to Tirupati from Nagari, to have say farewell to her husband.
“As the lorry driver died of COVID-19, the body will not be brought here. We have just made arrangements for the family members to pay their last respect in Tirupati, before the body is taken to an electric crematorium there. It is absolutely a wrong perception that the body of Corona Virus patients will be left like orphans,” Mr. Maddaiahchari said.
This however, is not the case in Nigeria. Anyone who is suspected to have died of Covid-19, is buried immediately without even the presence of a family member.
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Image Credit: TimesofIndia.