Man carries COVID positive wife’s body on cycle after villagers refuse cremation

In a rather heartbreaking incident that sums up India’s current COVID-19 crisis, a man was seen carrying the body of his dead wife on his bicycle after being denied help in his village in Uttar Pradesh, as people felt cremating a COVID patient’s body would spread the virus in the village.

The photos of the incident have been doing rounds and have left the people in a state of despair. The local police finally helped the man to cremate his wife’s body on the outskirt of the village. Police said that man in the photo was 70-year-old Tilakdhari, a resident of Amberpur village in Jaunpur 275 km from state capital Lucknow. His wife had died of COVID-19 at a government hospital.

According to police, the hospital had sent her body back to the village in an ambulance, but the villagers did not allow her cremation in the local cremation ground as they said it would ensure the spread of infection in the village.

Not being able to convince the villagers much, Tilakdhari decided to consign his wife’s body in the nearby Sai river — a not-so-frequent practice in the area. The villagers, however, refused to help move the body.

Not finding any way out, Tilakdhari decided to carry his wife’s body on his bicycle, but halfway through, the 70-year-old could not maintain control over the cycle and he toppled on the ground along with the body of his wife.

Tilakdhari was spotted by a passing policeman, who informed his senior officer and came to the rescue of the old man.  Soon after this, the police arranged all necessary items for a funeral. The cremation was conducted with the help of a local Muslim man in the locality.

In a similar case, a youth, with the help of his friend, carried the body of his mother, who reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, on a bike from a private hospital at Palasa-Kasibugga town to his native village Killoy on Monday, as ambulance drivers allegedly refused to shift the body.

With increasing deaths everyday due to the virus, there has also been a shortage as well of cremation grounds and people find it difficult to even find a spot to cremate bodies.

In Delhi, the authorities have reportedly cut down trees in city parks for use as kindling on funeral pyres. Relatives of the dead have also been asked to help with cremations by piling wood and assisting in other rituals.