Mahroof, a resident of Mahe, which comes under Puducherry, died at Kannur’s Pariyaram Medical College Hospital. But Kerala has refused to record his death in their count.

The govt cannot play with a death Family of Mahe man who died of COVID-19 in Kerala
Coronavirus Death Thursday, May 07, 2020 - 19:03

All that Nadeem appeals for is a dignified death for his father. He and his family are devastated as authorities in Kerala have not officially recorded the death of his 71-year-old father Mahroof, a COVID-19 patient who passed away on April 11. Kerala has been reluctant to include the death in their tally, though the Centre did.  

Mahroof, a social worker and resident of Cherukallai in Mahe which comes under the Puducherry union territory, died at the Pariyaram Medical College Hospital in Kannur district five days later he tested positive for coronavirus. Health officials are yet to identify the source of his infection.

Talking to TNM, Najeeb, Mahroof’s son-in-law says, “It’s been 26 days since his death. Nowhere has his death been recorded. In the death certificate given by hospital they haven’t even written the cause of death. When I asked authorities, they told me to get a letter from the Puducherry administration. But they don’t have any details here and they claim that as per central government rules the death should be recorded in the state where it occurred. They also asked us for proof that he died of COVID-19. Thalassery MLA promised that his name will soon be added by the Kerala government but that too has not happened. Why are they playing with a death? Please show some kindness.”

The family is deeply pained that though they have gone through a lot of hardships, their father has not yet got dignity in death.

“The police are still visiting the houses of our relatives, they are deeply troubled. We just finished our quarantine. We have cooperated with everything. But why is it taking a month to record his death?” Nadeem asks.

The family denied many of the claims made by the Kerala government. “As Health department claimed, he didn’t have any severe health issues until he was admitted at MIMS Hospital in Kannur on April 1 following some breathing trouble and chest pain. He did not have any heart problems. There were slight variations in his creatinine levels. Other than that he was healthy,” Najeeb says.

Najeeb says he suspects that Mahroof caught the infection after he was admitted at the private hospital in Kannur. “He was admitted on April 1 and it took them another five days to do a test for coronavirus. He neither had foreign travel history nor contact with any patients. None of us who were with him had the infection too. I strongly suspect that he contracted the virus from the hospital,” he says.

“It was on April 7 that he was taken to Pariyaram Medical College. We all went into quarantine. But none of the authorities communicated with us properly. They called and asked us to bury the body there itself. We didn’t want to create any trouble for others, so we agreed. His death was totally ignored by all authorities,” he adds.

“Soon after, MIMS Hospital informed us that he was positive for coronavirus. We asked them why my father-in-law wasn’t in the government list, because we didn’t hear of any cases from Mahe when the Chief Minister did the press meet that day. They said they had tested in their private lab and the government will announce only after confirmation from a government lab. But his name was never included,” a furious Najeeb says.

He also recalls that after the route map was published, media reports blamed Mahroof for not going into quarantine earlier.

“My father-in-law did not have a travel history. He was not a primary contact of any patient. Lockdown was announced only in the last week of March. So why are people expecting him to remain at home before that? Many blamed him for going out. Whatever our family went through the last few weeks was extremely painful. At least after his death, he should be given respect,” Najeeb says.

Since the family was in quarantine, they were not able to meet the authorities. “We have lost him. Now we need to get him the respect he deserves, his death cannot be neglected. It was not his mistake that he got the infection,” Najeeb says.

Nadeem says that their house is just 4 km from New Mahe, which is in Kerala.

“Why is the people-friendly Kerala government ignoring us? Although we are from Mahe, all our activities are done in New Mahe, all our relatives are in New Mahe or in other parts of Kerala. Kerala cannot neglect us,” he adds.

The Kerala government has maintained that it will not add the death to its count as Mahroof lived in Mahe. Going by the same domicile logic, Tamil Nadu has not recorded the death of a Kerala native in a Coimbatore hospital. And neither has Kerala. 

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