Mangaluru: At a time when many people have forgotten the word sensitivity and have opposed the cremation of the COVID-19 victims in their localities, Bantwal MLA Rajesh Naik has garnered immense appreciation for a stand that he took on Thursday.
P432, an elderly lady from Kasba in Bantwal died on Thursday (second COVID-19 victim of DK) and her dead body was ferried to various places including Boloor, Nandigudda and Pacchanady by the district administration.
However, at every location, the locals gathered and protested stating that they were not ready to risk their lives by allowing the cremation of a COVID-19 victim to take place in their area.
Finally, the 75-year-old lady was laid to rest at Hindu Rudrabhumi, Kaikunje in Bantwal, late on Thursday night, amidst protests from locals even here.
During this desperate situation, Bantwal MLA Naik upheld humanity by offering his own land for the cremation of the lady, ensuring that she is at least extended dignity in death.
Though the district administration went ahead and cremated the lady in at Kaikunje cremtorium, many are circulating messages of gratitude to the first-time MLA who chose emotions, logic and sensitivity over all other arguments.
Sources who were witness to the entire episode said that the MLA was hurt by the development and said that since the lady belonged to his own constituency, it was his duty to give her a decent cremation.
It may be recalled that the 50-year-old lady (first COVID victim of DK and daughter in-law of P432), who died on Sunday too was denied cremation at Boloor crematorium by the locals.
It may be mentioned here that in UK prevention of the lawful and decent burial of a dead body is an offence punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment or unlimited fine or both.
In Canada’s criminal code there exists a provision which reads whoever improperly or indecently interferes with or offers any indignity to a dead human body or human remain, whether buried or not is guilty of an offence and is liable for imprisonment for a term not more than five years. The right to a decent burial or cremation has been judicially recognized as a fundamental right.
Many like-minded organisations have pressed for similar laws in place here in India as well.
"The District Administration should invoke the necessary provisions of the Disaster Management Act or any other legal provision at its disposal and take necessary action against anyone denying the last rites to victims of epidemic diseases. This would work as an effective deterrent to the offenders. This will also effuse confidence to the health care workers who are rendering yeoman services to the society and nation and to the families of the deceased of victims of Covid-19 who are already undergoing severe mental agony," said Yathish Baikampady, Chairman, Disaster Management Committee, Indian Redcross Society, Dakshina Kannada.
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