COVID-19 Fear: Last Rites Of Doctor, Retd Headmaster Delayed In Odisha’s Kandhamal

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Bhubaneswar: A homoeopathic doctor in Odisha’s Kandhamal district did not get a dignified burial as the villagers suspected that he had died due to COVID-19.

The 55-year-old doctor belonged to G Udaygiri block in Kandhamal district. He was admitted to the Community Health Centre after his blood pressure spiked on Wednesday. He was to be taken to the district headquarters hospital in Phulbani but died on the way, HT reported.

“As his body was brought back to his village in Mallikpadi, the locals did not allow it to be buried there fearing that the doctor had succumbed to COVID-19. The doctor’s body was finally buried in an isolated patch of land around two kilometres away,” Kailash Dandapat, an NGO worker in Kandhamal district was reported as saying in Hindustan Times (HT).

The doctor was buried only 12 hours after his death, that too only after the district administration intervened as the villagers of another village opposed the burial.

Dandapat told HT that he has never seen such a situation in nearly four decades of his stay in Kandhamal. “Whenever any death happens, there would be a big gathering of near and dear ones and the villagers to pay their last respect to the departed soul. But Corona has turned the situation completely different. I do not think this is the only case of G Udayagiri, this is also going to happen in other parts of the district and the state,” he added.

In Ganjam too, the body of a retired school headmaster met the same fate. The headmaster in Seragada village was suffering from cough and fever for the last fortnight and died on Wednesday. His two sons could not return to the state due to the lockdown and villagers refused to help, fearing that the educationist had died of COVID-19.

It took four journalists to take his body to the cremation ground on an ambulance, HT reported.

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