Police cases were filed against 60 people in Punjab's Jalandhar after they allegedly tried to obstruct the cremation of a person who was COVID-19 positive, fearing further spread of the disease, sources said. Several such instances have already been reported from the state and two state ministers on Thursday attended cremations to bust the myth.
The patient, who tested positive on Wednesday, had died at the Civil Hospital. On Thursday, the locals tried to stop the cremation and allowed it to proceed after a lot of cajoling, arguments and assurances for over two hours, sources said.
Over the last few days, people have even refused to accept the bodies of relatives who died after contracting the infection.
Earlier, a 69-year-old woman's family had refused to accept her body in Ludhiana, forcing the district administration to perform her last rites, reported news agency Press Trust of India. A similar incident took place in Amritsar. A group of villagers in Amritsar's Verka village had too refused to allow the cremation of Padma Shri recipient Nirmal Singh Khalsa, reported PTI.
On Thursday, state Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had gone a village to attend the last rites of a man who died at the state's premier PGIMER hospital.
In a Facebook message and a video posted on the social media platform, the Health Minister said there was no danger in performing the last rites of coronavirus positive persons.
Fear of infection has triggered vigilante activities against doctors and other medical personnel across the country.
In many cases, medical personnel were asked to vacate rented premises, pushing the Central and state governments to warn of action against the erring landlords. On Wednesday, two women doctors were assaulted in Delhi when they went to buy groceries.
Airline staff involved in flying in and out stranded people across the world also had to face the brunt of locals' wrath.