New Delhi, April 17: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said he was “deeply disturbed” by news reports that locals in Meghalaya resisted the funeral of a doctor who died of COVID-19 fearing that it could further spread the disease, saying such incidents were a blot on the society’s consciousness.
Citing a newspaper report, he said there was a delay of 36 hours in the funeral of the Meghalaya doctor.
“Such incidents are a blot on the society’s consciousness and of great concern for all of us, irrespective of party, religion and region,” he said in a Facebook post.
The “unfortunate behaviour” from the locals forced Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to finally intervene in the matter and help resolve it, Naidu pointed out.
The vice president said the physician’s body lay for several hours in the hospital he had founded after attempts to bury or cremate him were unsuccessful due to local resistance.
“There is an urgent need to educate the people and remove misconceptions on COVID-19 to prevent such inhuman incidents in the future,” he said.
The vice president has shared his concerns on the issue with the home secretary and the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
He said it is a matter of deep anguish that such an incident occurred in spite of an advisory being issued by the central government in March for the management of dead bodies infected with novel coronavirus.
“I urge all citizens to be empathic and respond compassionately, not react irrationally, especially during these testing times,” Naidu said.
People must act responsibly and not believe in rumours, the vice president said.
The need of the hour is to create greater social awareness among the general public by various stakeholders, he opined. (PTI)