Mysore/Mysuru: If the heart-rending incident in Bhubaneswar where two sons carried the body of their father who died due of COVID-19 for cremation on a scooter as no one offered help stirred several emotions in us, this particular incident is sure to make us wonder how the COVID virus has destroyed humanity and human relationships.
The story comes from Hebbal near Surya Bakery where a son refused to even see his father’s dead body — forget performing last rites — but was ready to accept cash and ATM card left behind by his late father. The son, coming from a well-to-do family, repeatedly pleaded with Corporator K.V. Sridhar to return the cash but refused to see his father’s face and asked Sridhar to cremate it himself as an unclaimed body.
The man in his fifties was in home isolation near Hebbal and before he was infected, the family stayed together. Later, the man’s wife and son moved to another house owned by them in Kuvempunagar. The man was left to fend for himself and out of fear of contracting the disease, the mother and son did not even visit their Hebbal house.
Bait of cash
The man’s death came to light on Sunday morning and as Corporator Sridhar has taken charge of cremating all unclaimed bodies in his ward, he called the man’s wife thrice and she did not pick up the call. Later, Sridhar called the man’s son who unflinchingly told the Corporator to treat his father’s body as unclaimed and cremate it.
Seeing the youth’s arrogant and remorseless attitude, Sridhar wanted to test him and called him again and told him the youth that his father had left some cash in the house and also ATM card. Hearing this, the man’s son asked Sridhar to send the cash and the ATM card through someone to Kuvempunagar.
Shocked by the attitude, Sridhar questioned the man’s son about his attitude of not seeing his father’s dead body for one last time and also questioned his upbringing and education. When Sridhar raised his voice, the man’s son mellowed down and asked Sridhar to understand the situation.
Basic humanity lost
“As there is a rule that the family members have to be present during last rites, I called his son and to test his intentions and also to force him to come to the cremation site, I mentioned about the cash and ATM card which the youth was ready to accept but not his father’s dead body. Families have turned hostile to the victims and it is a sad situation. We are ready to perform the last rites. The least the family members can do is to be present at the cremation site. They can at least show basic humanity towards their loved ones,” Sridhar told Star of Mysore.
The audio clip of the conversation between the man’s son and Sridhar has gone viral now, inviting widespread reactions.
Later it was revealed that the elderly man had died on Saturday evening and his son visited the Hebbal house last Saturday and had a last glimpse of his father. He, however, stayed at Kuvempunagar house the next day for the fear of infection being spread.
Daughters refuse to perform woman’s last rites
In another incident, two daughters refused to perform the last rites of a woman at Mahadeshwara Layout on Friday morning.
The 55-year-old woman was residing alone in a rented house and she died of COVID. However, the woman’s two daughters did not turn up and did not even respond properly to phone calls made by Corporator Sridhar. Her daughters are married and are living on the Ring Road.
Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) officials said that the woman was suffering from fever and on Thursday, the house owner had informed the MCC.
A team visited her house as part of door-to-door campaign to check the health of the residents. As she had fever, the MCC team had given her a kit of medicines for the symptoms. When the team again visited the house on Friday, the woman was found dead.
The officials called their daughters and informed about the death and they waited for the daughters to arrive for the last rites. Though the wait went on for five hours, the daughters did not turn up. Later while one daughter switched off her mobile phone, the other daughter asked the MCC team to go ahead and do the cremation.
Without any go, MCC Health Inspector Namratha took up the responsibility and completed the cremation at Mukthidhama at Vijayanagar Fourth Stage with the help of Sridhar, ward sanitary supervisor Mohan and another MCC employee Kannan.