KOTTAYAM: The first Covid death reported in Kottayam district kicked up a row after some local residents prevented the cremation of the deceased patient in the electric crematorium of the municipality here on Sunday.With the protesters refusing to budge from their stand even after the intervention of local MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, the authorities put the cremation on hold in the evening.
However, the body of Ouseph George was cremated at the Muttambalam crematorium under tight police security around 11.15pm. Kottayam RDO Jolly Joseph and Tahsildar C H Rajendrababu led the procedures as per the direction of the district collector. Nearly 250 police personnel sealed the road leading to the crematorium under the aegis Additional SP A Nazim.
Ouseph George, 83, of Nadumalil House at Chungam near here died due to acute pneumonia at Government Medical College Hospital in Kottayam on Friday.His swab samples collected after his death came positive for Covid-19 on Saturday night. Following this, the district administration and health department authorities decided to conduct the cremation as per the Covid protocol at the municipal crematorium, taking into account the lack of required facilities at the cemetery of deceased man’s parish church at Chungam.
Though the authorities decided to conduct the cremation by 3pm on Sunday, residents of the Muttambalam housing colonyled by ward councillor T N Harikumar came out against the move by 2.45 pm and blocked the road to the crematorium by erecting a temporary fence.
According to the protesters, the cremation would lead to serious health risks for them. The police soon removed the fencing. As per the direction of District Collector M Anjana, Kottayam tahsildar C G Rajendra Babu held talks with the protesters, but in vain.By 5.15 pm, Thiruvanchoor arrived at the spot and assured residents that the cremation would be conducted only after midnight.