Meet the six who bid adieu to Covid-19 victims

The team of Thiruvananthapuram corporation that handles burial of Covid-19 victims has a story of compassion to tell

Published: 25th June 2020 07:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th June 2020 07:24 AM   |  A+A-

The team carrying the dead body of a Covid-19 victim

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is no doubt that the global pandemic has brought people a lot closer to each other. For this six-member team of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, giving dignified burial for three Covid-19 victims in the state capital, who were near strangers till a few days back, is a big responsibility. Every time a Covid-19 death happens, the civic authorities summon this young team that has been fighting on the frontlines ever since the first case was reported in the state. They put their lives on the line to ensure the patients and families, who are mostly ostracised by the society, get the respect they deserve. 

“When the first Covid-19 death occurred, and the discussion about their burial came up, we were wondering, what if this happened in our own home? People are hesitant to get involved in the process out of fear of contracting the infection. But, the moment we started empathising with the family, all their fears disappeared. This is no time to be passing the buck. We are proud that we were able to give all three of them a safe and respectful burial,” says Jayakumar J, a contract sanitation worker of the civic body. 

The six-member burial team of the corporation

All six members are part of the 24-hour emergency response team formed by the corporation. “Our main responsibilities involve disinfection of quarantine centres and public places including bus stations. We did all three funerals following religious rituals. It’s really heartbreaking that the family and loved ones cannot even be at the funeral. The support we got from the higher authorities is also commendable. They were with us at every step, to give us moral support,” says 36-year-old Jayakumar.  For 32-year-old Shaiju S, another member of the team, Covid-19 has taught him many life lessons. 

“People and families are getting ostracised and neighbours shun them. Many people behave like that with us too, and they discourage us from doing what we do now. And as a sanitation worker, this is my duty,” says Shaiju. “We also have families. The government is only asking us to follow social distancing norms, not to attack or ostracise anyone. When we go to homes of infected persons to carry out disinfection, we speak with the family. This is the least one can do,” says Shaiju. 

The team involved with Covid-19 funerals comprises health officer Sasi Kumar, officers including Anoop Roy, Sujith Sudhakar, Shaji M S and Saiju. According to health standing committee chairman I P Binu, the corporation staff are working day and night to contain the pandemic. “We are working as one unit to fight this and are prepared to deal with any kind of situation. People should become more compassionate any one of us can catch the disease. People get agitated or come up with protests against the burial of Covid-19 victims. This happens because of a lack of awareness,” Binu adds.

Team spirit
The team involved with Covid-19 funerals comprises health officer Sasi Kumar, officers including Anoop Roy, Sujith Sudhakar, Shaji M S and Saiju and Jayakumar. All the six members are part of the
 24-hour emergency response team formed by the corporation


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