The Maharashtra BJP on Thursday criticised the state government over the withdrawal of a circular which mandated that the bodies of coronavirus patients would be cremated and not buried. Maharashtra has so far reported 335 cases, 39 have recovered while 14 deaths have been re3ported.
Keshav Upadhye, BJP state spokesperson, on Wednesday said, "I wonder why some ministers in the state government were against the circular which had ordered cremation of all victims of COVID-19, as it is an advisory issued by the WHO. They should have kept their religious biases aside."
Issuing a new directive regarding the disposal of dead bodies of Coronavirus (COVID-19), BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, on Monday ordered that all 'bodies must be cremated irrespective of religion'. If relatives insisted on burial, it will be allowed only outside Mumbai, the circular said. Immediately, Maharashtra minority affairs minister Nawab Malik intervened and tweeted that the previous order is being revoked after he spoke to Pardeshi. The BMC amended the order claiming that those who insist on burying the COVID-19 deceased, will be allowed only if the ground is large enough so as not to create the possibility of spread of the virus in the neighbourhood. The other conditions still stand.
The Ministry has issued a clear SOP stating that 'crematorium/burial ground staff should be sensitized that COVID-19 does not pose additional risk'. Moreover, the SOP stated that hand hygiene and use of masks and gloves must be practiced, but rituals that do not involve touching the body can be permitted. While bathing, kissing, hugging the body is disallowed, the ministry has also stated that the ash does not pose any risk and large gathering should be avoided.
On March 14, the Thackeray government invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act declaring the Coronavirus as an epidemic - declaring all gyms, swimming pools, malls, theatres, pubs shut in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Nagpur, Pimpri-Chinchwad till March 31 amid the rising cases of Coronavirus. With the railways shutting down its services on March 22 marking 'Janta Curfew', the Maharashtra government extended a state-wide curfew, stopping all transport services across districts.
(with PTI Inputs)