The video of the burial of a COVID-19 patient in Tirupati allegedly using an earthmover went viral on social media on Monday. It also triggered a political row after TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh expressing dismay over the incident.
The body was taken to ‘Govindadhamam’, the gas-fired crematorium. However, as the body weighed 180 kg, it could not be pushed into the furnace and it was returned to SVIMS COVID hospital. As no other vehicle was available to shift it to ‘Harischandra Smasanavatika,, the regular burial ground, the municipal corporation staff allegedly hired an earthmover with the consent of the family members. Since COVID-19 protocols mandate burial of a body in a pit as deep as 14 feet to prevent the spread of infection, an earthmover was reportedly used for the purpose. The same was used later to pick up the body from the ambulance to the spot, as the civic staff found it difficult to physically shift the body weighing nearly 180 kg.
However, the issue attained a political hue when Mr. Lokesh posted the video footage on Twitter.
“Yet another shocking instance of how the body of a COVID-19 patient is treated in AP. Authorities in Tirupati are seen using an earthmover to dump the body in a pit. Does the government have the guts to show this video to the grieving loved ones? Can’t they respect the dead?,” the tweet said.
Municipal Corporation of Tirupati (MCT) Commissioner P.S. Gireesha dismissed the criticism making rounds on social media and clarified on the issue to the media later.