A Mumbai man, who died of COVID-19 earlier this month, was cremated by the civic authorities without informing his family, which had been in quarantine. The family didn't even know about his death until they visited the hospital to check on his health when their mandatory self-isolation got over. They have filed a police complaint over the lapse.
Rakesh Varma, a resident of Barkatalinagar in Wadala area of Mumbai, died on May 17. "I want justice. How do I accept my son has died without seeing the body?" Ananda Varma, the man's mother, told NDTV.
Rakesh Varma's wife, Subhashini Varma said, "They kept saying that he was being given oxygen and that he was being treated. When we went to the police station, we were informed that he had died on 17 May."
His close relatives were in quarantine when Mr Verma was battling for his life. They could go to meet him on May 21 when the mandatory self-isolation ended. A nurse told them the man had died and his body was disposed by the police as nobody claimed it.
"We went to the trauma centre at Jogeshwari and the nurse told us that the body had been listed as unclaimed. She asked us to inquire at the Wadala Police Station," Rakesh Varma's friend, Anwar Teje, told NDTV.
The police said they will probe the lapse. "The family has filed a complaint and we are investigating," a senior officer said.
Over the last few days, the Brihanmumbai Corporation, Mumbai's civic body, has been facing criticism for not being able to move bodies quickly from COVID-19 wards.
Maharashtra, the worst coronavirus-hit state, recorded 2,682 new cases on Friday, along with 116 deaths - the highest single-day rise in fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. The total number of cases stood at 62,228 and deaths at 2,098. Mumbai alone accounts for over 36,932 cases and 1,173 deaths.