MUMBAI: Not willing to risk infections even after death, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) on Monday decided to cremate all victims of Covid-19 irrespective of their religion, but later revised the order to allow an exception.
In a significant order, MCGM Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi had decreed that the dead bodies of all Covid-19 victims must be cremated at the nearest crematorium irrespective of the religion to which they belong.
He justified the move, saying a religious community leader had brought to his notice that burial grounds for Muslim or Christians are located in densely populated localities of Mumbai, posing a high risk of contamination to their surrounding community or residential areas.
However, for those who insist on holding the burial, would be allowed, provided the burial ground is big enough to rule out the possibility of spreading the virus in the neighbourhood.
The civic chief had barred any such burials in Mumbai limits, but after the intervention of the state government, the previous order was withdrawn and a revised order was issued.
Pardeshi also said that any rituals involving the touching of the body are barred and not more than five persons shall be permitted to attend any such funeral.
The MCGM has further banned the procedure of packaging the victim’s body in a plastic bag and burying it in a cemetery on the grounds that it would prevent early decomposition and the risk of the future spread of coronavirus would continue.
The hospitals must inform the police station concerned of any coronavirus death and then hand over the body for cremation and cemetery staff must use all protective gears like masks, gloves, etc, Pardeshi said.
In case of opting for burial, the family concerned would have to make all arrangements including transportation and follow the relevant guidelines/precautions for the disposal of Covid-19 victims, he said.
The persons concerned would be fully responsible for their actions and those found flouting the directives would be liable for penal action, said the MCGM chief.