By Ajit K Jha
New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Ashes of Covid-19 victims who were cremated are piling up at the Ghazipur crematorium here as relatives are hesitant to collect them due to the fear of contracting infection, said the chief priest and cremation manager.
Speaking to ANI, Ghazipur crematorium chief pandit and cremation manager Sunil Sharma said, "As per Hindu religion, after a person is cremated, the ashes are collected in a vessel and immersed in the Ganga or other rivers within a period of time. The ashes of COVID patients who die due to the disease have piled up at the crematorium. Due to the fear of contracting COVID infection, people are not coming to the crematorium to collect the ashes of their family members."
"Crematorium authorities are fulfilling their duties and calling up family members but many are telling us to immerse the ashes on their behalf. Some also tell us to preserve the ashes carefully," said Sharma.
He said that since the number of COVID deaths is too high and managing these ashes and getting them immersed in the river is a challenging task, looking at the religious importance of the immersion of ashes in Hinduism, crematorium authorities make sure these ashes are immersed properly as per the rituals.
"COVID deaths are high and the staff availability at the crematorium is limited which has led to the accumulation of ashes. We will slowly and gradually immerse all of them in the Yamuna river. As the cases will start declining, the ashes will be immersed in the Ganga river," he said.
Meanwhile, Delhi reported 8,506 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The city reported 289 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to a health bulletin by Delhi government yesterday.
The city had reported over 10,000 cases on April 11 as cases surged further in the second wave of the pandemic before showing a decline in the past few days.
The positivity rate came down to 12.40 per cent, which is the lowest since April 12.
The total case count in the city stood at 13,80,981 and it has 71,794 active cases yesterday.
The death toll in the national capital stood at 20,907. The cumulative fatality rate was at 1.51 per cent on Friday. (ANI)