New Delhi: In the worst of times, sometimes it seems there is no dignity even in death. For so many around the country, losing loved ones to Corona means not even being able to say a final goodbye. Sometimes it is fear, sometimes it is just lack of money. “My son died of COVID but I did not have money for his last rites” said a father who was grateful to the organistion for helping him with the last rights of his son. With the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths rising rapidly in Delhi, it’s also becoming a struggle to give the dead a dignified funeral. “My mother was unwell for a few days. This world has seen such huge disasters but this pandemic has created distance between people and their loved ones”, shared a grieving son.
Rituals have taken a backseat when it’s the funeral of a patient who has died of the coronavirus. Help has come through Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal; an NGO in Delhi. The group has organized funerals for over 200 people in the last three months.
Jitender Singh Shunty, Founder, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal shared with NDTV,
We have been handling 2-3 types of cases. We have transported dead bodies from mortuaries to cremation grounds. In some cases, if the family is in quarantine, they give us the authority to cremate their family member. We have also had cases where people have abandoned the body of a loved one because of panic and fear.
The NGO have added four more ambulances to their fleet of 12 ambulances so that they can continue to help those in need by taking all necessary precautions. Jyotjeet Singh, Director, Disaster cell, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal said,
While cremating the disaster management team strictly adheres to the corona protocol of wearing PPE kits, gloves, masks, using a hand sanitizer. Every time we carry the bodies we sanitize the ambulance and maintain the safety of our team members.
Sewa is any form must be from the heart. In the initial days of the pandemic Shaheed Bhagat Singh Sewa dal started with langar service, then free Ambulances and Hearse and now helping with the final journey. It is their feeling of sewa to help others in whatever way possible. We salute these corona warriors who are fearlessly helping those in need.
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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.