Locals feared that the cremation of an infected body may spread the virus in the area. (Representational)
A 42-year-old man, first person to die of COVID-19 in Tripura, was cremated at the Battala burning ghat on Wednesday, following hours of protests by locals who feared that the cremation of an infected body may spread the deadly virus in the area, officials said.
Biswa Kumar Debbarma, from a remote village in West Tripura district -- died at the GB Pant Hospital in Agartala on Tuesday.
As news spread that his body will be cremated at the Battala burning ghat, the main crematorium in the state capital, hundreds of locals had blocked the adjacent road from Tuesday night, officials said.
Subdivisional Magistrate of Agartala Sadar, Ashim Saha, said that the administration held several rounds of talks with the protesters and tried to convince that all precautionary measures would be taken prior to the cremation.
However, the matter was resolved only after local BJP MLA Asish Kumar Saha and former health minister Sudip Roy Barman intervened and held a meeting with the locals to convince them.
Roy Barman said there was misconceptions among the locals due to which they opposed the cremation.
"We held a meeting with the locals, and their misconceptions were cleared. However, cremation was delayed at least by 24 hours, but we are happy that people could understand the problem," he said.
Subdivisional Police Officer Anirban Das said that adequate security forces were deployed near the area to avert any untoward incidents.