A day after protests against the cremation of the body of an 83-year-old man who was confirmed positive for the coronavirus after his death in Kerala's Kottayam, the police have registered a case against a BJP councillor and locals for unlawful assembly and violating COVID-19 protocols. They reportedly feared health risk because of the cremation of a Covid-positive man.
This was the first COVID-19 death in the district.
On Sunday evening, shocking scenes were seen for hours as a group of protesters, led by BJP councilor, did not allow officials to cremate the body at a municipal crematorium, which is reportedly near their homes.
The BJP councilor, TN Harikumar, was seen shouting at officials "take the body to your house", and the group of locals - men and women - was seen sitting on the ground, obstructing the movement of officials from the police and health departments.
"The officials came to cremate the body without informing locals or me, without taking us into confidence. When the protests were going on that's when a health official is trying to educate people. Is that the time? That's when I told the official to take the body to his house," Mr Harikumar said.
The officials, who had left after hours of protest, returned after 11 in the night amid tight police security and cremated the body.
Kerala Minister Thomas Isaac Finance took to the Twitter and said, "When I tweeted about the BJP and the Congress undermining the public trust in COVID fight, some said that I was being partisan. Now hear the latest, BJP councillor in Kottayam leads a crowd to prevent cremation of a deceased in a public cemetery. Reason COVID may spread through the smoke!"
Congress MLA Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan who had also reached the area said, "There was concern among locals, especially women who work at different homes, that they may lose their jobs. This is something that needs awareness and being spoken to."