Row over ‘insensitive disposal of bodies’: Credo of dignity of death is respected, says Bengal government

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By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: June 14, 2020 4:38:10 am

 Credo of dignity of death is respected, says Bengal government After the video emerged, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Opposition parties had slammed the administration. (Express file photo by Partha Paul)

Following a controversy over the insensitive disposal of bodies at a crematorium here, the West Bengal government on Saturday said it “respects the credo of dignity of death”.

Bodies being picked up in a disrespectful manner at a crematorium in Garia in south Kolkata, a video of which had gone viral earlier on social media, was an “isolated incident”, it added.

In a statement on social media, the state Home Department said the bodies seen in the video were not of Covid-19 victims. It pointed out that such controversies could demotivate frontline workers at a time of crises brought about by the pandemic and cyclone Amphan.

After the video emerged, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Opposition parties had slammed the administration. Local residents had also protested as they suspected the bodies were of Covid-19 victims.

“[The] GoWB [Government of West Bengal] respects the credo of dignity of death and, while handling Covid pandemic, it has espoused the principle by laying down transparent procedures regarding disclosure of facts, opportunities given to bereaved relatives for showing last respects to the deceased, disposal of dead bodies etc,” the Home Department said.

It claimed that a misinformation drive was carried out using the video, and clarified that the handling of some unidentified and decomposed bodies had “no relationship whatsoever with the pandemic”. This had been communicated to the Governor in writing and in person by most senior state officials, it added.

“Decontextualising the incident and projecting an one-off incident on the pandemic canvas, despite explanatory communiqués, adversely impacts the social mind, demotivates public administration and denigrates frontline public health workers, hamstrings further streamlining of all relevant procedure especially at a time when the entire state is fighting Covid and Amphan. GoWB condemns the untruth,” said the department.

Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders termed the allegations as fake news and slammed the Governor.

Dhankhar had expressed anguish, and sought an urgent update from state officials, including those from Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) after the video emerged.

The matter was then raised by state BJP president Dilip Ghosh and CPM’s Jadavpur MLA Sujan Chakraborty.
However, the KMC made it clear that the bodies had no link to Covid-19.

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