Three government workers have been suspended from their posts by the government of Puducherry for their alleged involvement in the undignified burial of a COVID-19 victim. Pointing out that the District Collector of Puducherry has ordered a further probe into the incident, the Chief Minister said that two workers from the municipality and one from the health department have been suspended in this regard.
Shocking visuals of the said burial had emerged on Saturday in which the body of the deceased was carried on a stretcher by four health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) towards a dug-out pit.
In a video published on his official Twitter handle, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayasamy on Monday confirmed the suspension and stated that a probe has been initiated to find out more about the incident.
“This is something that saddens us all deeply. Whoever dies of any disease, their last rites must be performed with utmost respect and dignity,” he said in the video.
“At the state level, we will take strict action on whoever is concerned with this once the inquiry report is received. It is our duty to perform final rites to the dead with the appropriate respect,” he added.
Faulting the manner in which a #COVID19 victim's body was buried recently, 2 workers of municipality & 1 health workers have been suspended. Thorough enquiry would be held to find out whether there was any lapse on the part of the workers handling the body during the burial. pic.twitter.com/HhFYoJfoC0— V.Narayanasamy (@VNarayanasami) June 8, 2020
The deceased was a man who had recently travelled to Puducherry from Chennai and was living in Villianur. The video had shown that the man’s body was dropped from the stretcher and was rolled over into the pit, where it was seen unravelling from the cloth it had been wrapped in. As the four workers walked away from the pit with an empty stretcher, one of them was heard saying, “It has been thrown inside sir,” to an officer standing on the way, and the officer responds with a thumbs-up sign.
The Chief Minister, in his video, said that the man had died at his house and was brought to the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital and Research Institute in Puducherry, where he was tested for COVID-19. As he was confirmed of having COVID-19, his family members expressed their wish that he be buried by the state government and had submitted a written request in this regard, based on which the workers buried him.