Karnataka govt moots mass final rites at Srirangapatna | Bengaluru News – Times of India


Ashes of the dead are piling up in crematoriums in Bengaluru

BENGALURU: Over the past two months, horrific pictures of mass cremations and long queues of ambulances outside crematoriums have been etched in the minds of Bengalureans. But the lingering tragedy is that many families of those who died are unwilling to pick up the ashes of their loved ones for the final rites.
According to the state government, up to 1,400 people’s ashes continue to remain unclaimed in the 11 designated Covid-19 crematoriums.
“We have tried everything possible to convince their loved ones to pick up the ashes, but to no avail. We’ve been following up repeatedly with them but no one is ready to respond,” said a revenue department official.
In fact, officials suggest that many family members, or those who brought the dead to the crematoriums, have switched off their phones.
While some feared the infection itself, others are worried about interdistrict travel on account of the lockdown which is in force till June 7.
To ease the pressure on people, the government on May 24 issued an order to all district administrations to allow families to come to places like Sangama in Srirangapatna to submerge ashes, but to no avail.
Left with no choice, and unable to hold on to ashes for much longer as more people succumb to the virus, the government is likely to consider mass final rites for all the unclaimed ashes.
“We may take a call by Wednesday and inform families that the government will perform the final rites of these victims by submerging their ashes in the Cauvery,” said the official.
Revenue minister R Ashoka plans to do the mass final rites as many are not ready to come forward for this.
“Many of these families are scared and under the wrong impression that they may get infected if they enter the crematoriums. I’ll consider the possibility of doing it myself,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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