Civic officials allegedly not providing enough firewood, leaving cremation mid-way; senior officer claims it was a carcass
COVID-19 victims in Adilabad are being deprived of dignity post-death, as stray dogs are feeding on their semi-burnt bodies.
Photographs and videos of dogs gnawing at the bodies went viral on social media. The situation has arisen as bodies were neither burnt till the end nor was enough firewood provided by local authorities.
Insult to injury
The body of an adult requires at least five to six quintals of firewood to be burnt completely, whereas the civic officials are providing less than three quintals. To add insult to injury, municipality officials are reported to leave burning bodies midway, not caring enough to stay till the end and hence inadvertently leaving body parts behind for dogs to feed on.
“Once fire is lit to the funeral pyre, both family members and the municipal workers are leaving the burial ground and there is no one to see if the bodies are burnt completely,” said a resident, whose mother succumbed to the deadly infection in Adilabad recently.
He alleged that the government is not providing enough material for the cremation, as a result of which they are forced to get additional firewood, ghee and other materials for cremation. “They workers were putting old cycle tyres in the pyre, so that the bodies can burn quickly,” he said.
In Adilabad, bodies of COVID-19 victims are burnt in a makeshift graveyard on the outskirts of Mavala village, nearly 10 km from the district headquarters here.
It is learnt that stray dogs were feeding on the half-burnt body of a 44-year-old man from KRK Colony, who died on August 5, and the municipal sanitary workers left his body half-burnt.
‘Not a corpse’
Repeated attempts were made by The Hindu to contact District Collector Sikta Patnaik, but she remained unavailable. However, Assistant Municipal Commissioner CVN Raju denied that the bodies were left half-burnt and claimed that dogs may have been eating carcass. “It was an animal carcass (sic). However, the officials have ordered an inquiry into the matter. So far, we have conducted seven funerals at the same spot,” he said.
The issue can compound the ongoing health crisis. Incidents of dogs dragging half-burnt or buried bodies were reported earlier in the State. If some parts of a half burnt body rotting away for two to three days are dragged by dogs into residential areas, it could pose a threat to health of people. Besides, it is not safe for municipal workers to visit the sites where bodies are rotting, a health official said.