Andhra Pradesh civil society steps up to ensure dignity in death

VIJAYAWADA: Since the beginning of the pandemic, 51 civil society groups across Andhra Pradesh have helped in conducting the last rites of 4,187 unclaimed bodies, according to official police data. Felicitating the NGOs on Friday, director general of police D Gautam Sawang along with SPs of all police units recognised their efforts as ‘warriors of humanity’.
Around 42% of these bodies are from Guntur Urban police limits with Amma Charitable Trust, Guntur Covid Fighters Team and Rudra Charitable Trust helping shift and cremate 1,800 dead bodies. In Rayalaseema region, Sadguru Datta Krupalayam aided in conducting last rites of 502 bodies across Kurnool town while Tirupati Muslim United Covid-19 Joint Action Committee cremated 550 bodies.
Apart from organisations, individuals too have come forward in providing a dignified last journey for the deceased. In Rajahmundry Urban, M Bharat Raghava and his team helped cremate 330 bodies and, in the process, one of his friends’ Manikanta succumbed to Covid-19. In many instances, cops too took up the role of conducting the last rites, especially of Covid-19 patients who were abandoned by villagers and family members.
Speaking on the occasion, Sawang said the second wave of the pandemic has challenged mankind and unleashed unrivalled human misery. “While the human misery we saw was unparalleled, we also saw kindness and humanity of the same magnitude,” Sawang said. All 51 groups, belonging to villages across the state, have together ensured a dignified last journey to a lot of unclaimed or orphaned bodies during both waves of the infection in the state.
“This, while ensuring that the rituals prescribed by the belief of the person when he was alive are abided by,” Sawang said. For instance, the Pink Heart foundation, has cremated as many as 14 bodies in East Godavari district since the outbreak of Covid-19. The DGP and SPs felicitated these warriors and awarded them the label of ‘Manavathva Dheeras’ (warrior of humanity).
“The help came during a phase when the systems were being burdened beyond belief, and a lot of bodies were being left unclaimed due to fear. As part of our duty, the police force has ensured a dignified last journey whenever we came across such incidents. Seeing citizens come out and do the same to support us is very heartwarming,” Sawang added.

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