Udaipur : The wave of death from the COVID-19 pandemic has forced transformations to the long-established religious rituals. At a time when even kith and kin of COVID victims refuse to claim bodies or participate in cremation due to the fear of catching infection themselves, sanitation workers or crematorium staff are performing the rituals. At Banswara, five bags of ashes of unclaimed bodies were given water showers from the fire brigade van as symbolic immersion when none of the kin showed up to collect the ash bags.
According to sources, some 72 bodies of people who died of COVID were cremated at the Banswara’s cremation ground. The Municipal Corporation has taken responsibility for the cremation of bodies received from hospitals while in the cases where patients die at home and the kin is unable to conduct the cremation, the municipal body offers help.
Four sanitation workers have been assigned the cremation task and they even collect the ashes which are packed in bags and kept aside so that family members get the bags for immersing them in water as per the Hindu tradition. Sources said five out of the 72 bodies cremated here, whose families were either themselves infected or had not come to claim the ashes fearing infection. They were contacted personally but when none came, the ashes were symbolically immersed with showers from the fire brigade vehicle.
Meanwhile, the municipal chairman Jinendra Trivedi said that the corporation has kept 5 copper jars at the crematorium for storing ashes of unclaimed bodies which would be given to volunteers who are serving by performing mass immersions at holy rivers without any charge. However, due to the strict lockdown, volunteers too have been facing difficulties in movement.