Protests force body to be buried secretly in Andhra Pradesh landfill

VIJAYWADA: The body of a Covid-19 victim was secretly buried in the dead of night on Tuesday at a municipal landfill on the outskirts of Kurnool after locals opposed the burial at the graveyard. Kurnool, which has turned into a Covid-19 hotbed with 386 positive cases, has witnessed at least six burial s outside graveyard due to protests in other places as well.

In district too there was strong opposition to Covid-19 burial s as people feared that the bodies would spread the novel coronavirus. In at least two instances, had to intervene to allow the burial in Guntur.

On Thursday, villagers in the Chittoor district did not allow the cremation of the body of a 26-year-old man, who died of exhaustion after walking 270 kilometers from Bangalore to reach his home. Villagers insisted that swab samples from the body be analyzed for Covid-19. However, they allowed cremation after the samples were negative.

As opposition to burial or cremation of Covid-19 victims is spreading to other areas in AP, chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who reviewed the situation, directed district collectors and police superintendents to book cases against those opposing burial or cremation.

Final rites performed secretly in AP

In Kurnool, final rites were performed in secrecy at dumpyards, hillocks and barren land. On Tuesday midnight, body of a 70-year-old man, who succumbed to Covid-19, was buried in secrecy at Gargeyapuram village municipal dumpyard after being denied permission to conduct last rites at burial grounds. His family was in quarantine. Kurnool taluk circle inspector G Obulesh confirmed to TOI that there was opposition to burial .

Residents of Praja Colony pelted stones at municipal team which went to bury the body of a Covid-19 victim at government designated area in hillocks of Jagannatha Gattu. “After locals noticed PPE kits around burial sites, they staged a protest. Cases booked against stone pelters,” Obulesh said. Protesters pointed out that these PPE kits were exposed to Covid-19 victim and questioned the carelessness of officials in disposing them. KV Ramana, one of the residents, said the bodies were not buried properly and dogs were found trying to scour the premises and dragging around the contaminated PPE kits in localities.

Denoting the incident as inhumane, CM Jagan instructed DGP D Gautam Sawang to take strict measures. Do not treat the infected person as untouchable. With proper treatment, they can be cured. Patients across the country and the world are being treated and discharged, he said.