ANANTAPUR: Seven years ago, when his senior colleague Sudhakar Reddy died by suicide, constable A Adinarayana with the help of another colleague Chandrasekhar carried the body for nearly half-a-kilometre, before handing over it to the family members of the victim.
For whatever reasons, people take extreme steps, and several die by suicide, and on most occasions, their bodies are left unattended and unclaimed. Adinarayana, who joined the department in 2011 and became GRP constable in 2013 was moved by the plight of such people and took it upon himself to perform their last rites.
Till now, he performed the last rites of over 200 people, whose bodies were left unclaimed. Covid crisis saw him doing the same for the victims of the virus, who were abandoned by the family members for fear of contracting the virus. He performed the last rites of about 40 such bodies.
The selfless service rendered by Venugopal defies the general perception of police personnel - hard-hearted, strict and insensitive. A native of Bukkarayasamudram near Anantapur city, Adinarayana who lives with his parents, wife and brother is blessed with a baby girl 11 months ago and currently discharging duties as traffic constable in Anantapur city.
“Performing the last rites to such unclaimed bodies gives me satisfaction. We too have to die one day, so what is there to be afraid of the unclaimed bodies. In fact, I see it as a god-given opportunity and doing such service gives me satisfaction,” he says.
Remembering the time he spent with his colleagues Chandrasekhar and Sudhakar Reddy when he was GRP constable, Adinarayana said Sudhakar’s death was a turning point in his life and made him more sensitive and service-oriented. “For 15 days, I could not become normal after the incident. I also saw several such incidents while I was with Anantapur GRP. While some die of natural causes while on the journey in train, others die by suicide for various reasons.
Bodies of most of them remain unclaimed. Feeling sorry for them, I started performing the last rites to bid a dignified farewell to the departed,” he recalls. Recalling an incident when a retired government employee died of Covid-19 at Tarimela village in Garladinne mandal in the early days of Covid crisis, he said none from his family or relatives came forward to claim the body and perform the last rites.
For 10 days, the body was kept in the mortuary and noticing that it would start decomposing if delayed, Dr Sai Sudheer of government hospital had taken the body in his own car and performed the last rites. He allayed the fears of people that the virus will not be in the body after three hours of death. “My good friend Sanjeevini Ramana Reddy asked me to help and we performed the last rites of that person.
Since then, we performed the last rites of some 40 victims. Half of them were abandoned, while the rest were of those, whose families were hesitating to reveal the cause of death and worried how to perform the last rites without help,” Adinarayana says. He says if not for the support and inspiration from his dear friend Sanjeevini Ramana Reddy, he might not have been able to do what he did.
At a time when people are reluctant to perform the last rites of their dear ones who died of Covid-19, Anantapur cop bid dignified farewell to 40 Covid victims, says he sees it as a god-given opportunity.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call AASRA's 24x7 Helpline: +91-9820466726 for assistance.)