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‘Feel Assisting People In Distress My Duty’: Delhi Police ASI Who Helps Cremate People Who Died Of COVID-19

56-year-old Assistant police sub-inspector Rakesh Chaudhury was posted at a crematorium in Delhi on April 13 when the city had just begun to witness a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases

'Feel Assisting People In Distress My Duty': Delhi Police ASI Who Helps Cremate People Who Died Of COVID-19
  • ASI Rakesh Chaudhury consoles bereaved relatives of victims and help them
  • He even prepares funeral pyres himself when families don't
  • He even postponed daughter's wedding to fulfil his commitment to society

New Delhi: As he guides a grieving family which had just arrived at the Lodhi Crematorium, Delhi here to conduct the last rites of their coronavirus dead, ASI Rakesh Chaudhury also keeps an eye on around eight-nine funeral pyres he helped set up. “On a daily basis, there are 20-30 bodies of coronavirus patients that we help cremate here,” Assistant police sub-inspector Rakesh Chaudhury tells PTI.

Also Read: “First Time He Had Laughed In Weeks”: A Young Doctor’s 27-Hour COVID Shift

He tells the bereaved relatives of the victims where they can get the material required for conducting the last rites, consoles them, at times put firewood on bodies, and even prepares funeral pyres himself when families don’t.

Many a times there is just only one attendant with the body. Sometimes even when there are more they do not want to touch the body. They either sit in the parking lot or on the road, and we carry the body and help in cremation, he says.

Mr. Chaudhary says he has helped cremate 1300-1400 bodies, many of those being of COVID-19 patients, at the crematorium in the past one month. The 56-year-old father of three was posted at the crematorium on April 13 when the city had just begun to witness a sudden spike in coronavirus cases and deaths in the second wave, and when crematoriums were finding it difficult to manage the deluge of bodies.

Mr. Chaudhury had joined the Delhi Police in 1986. His family lives back home in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, while he stays in the barracks of Nizamuddin Police Station, reporting for duty every day from 7 am to 8 pm.

I talk to my family members daily over a video call. They are quite supportive. The only thing they tell me ‘just stay safe and continue doing what you are doing’. I feel that helping people in distress is my duty, he said.

Also Read: Amitabh Bachchan Donates Rs. 2 Crore To COVID-19 Care Facility In Delhi

Talking about his own family, he was reminded of how he recently helped a young boy conduct the last rites of his grandmother while his parents joined over a video call from Singapore.

Sometimes, I tell the family members that it’s God’s will and they need to stay patient, he said.

His family has his elderly parents, wife and three children — two sons and a daughter. The ASI said he postponed his daughter’s wedding scheduled for May 7 so that he could help more distressed families.

There is so much sadness all around and it doesn’t look good that we hold a wedding, he added.

Mr. Chaudhury has taken the coronavirus vaccine doses. He says he has been given a PPE kit, a hand sanitiser, a face shield and a mask to protect himself from getting the disease.

By God’s grace, I have not been infected, he said.

RP Meena, the Deputy Commissioner of Southeast district, said Chaudhury has been deployed there for permanent shifts, while other keep rotating.

The people who come here are already in grief. Sometimes, for Covid bodies, there is only one attendant or no attendant at all. We try and provide the best help, even put firewood and arrange puja material. He is permanently deployed there while the other policeman keep changing, he said.

Also Read: COVID Warriors: Free Auto Ambulance Service For COVID-19 Patients Launched In Delhi

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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