Lucknow: A controversy erupted in the temple town of Ayodhya after an elderly Jain woman died on Tuesday and had to be cremated inside the town’s Jain Temple.
As soon as those staying near the temple came to know about the planned cremation, they started raising objections to it claiming the woman had died of coronavirus.
The district administration denied any COVID-19 link with the woman and asked the deceased’s family members to go ahead with the cremation inside the temple.
Mahant Naga Ram Lakhan Das, who filed an objection with the cremation, told News18 that never before a body had been cremated inside the temple that has been there since 1962.
“All the residents of the locality objected as a body has never been cremated in the vicinity. Our main objection was about the smoke following the cremation that might cause problems to the residents. We asked them to take the body to the nearby river bank, even complained to the administration, but nobody listened to our pleas”
Another local said such a thing happened for the first time and even after reporting the matter to the police, nothing was done. “We have been living here since 1968. This happened for the first time,” the local, Vinod Chandra Khanna, said.
The Resident Magistrate of Ayodhya, KD Sharma, said the allegations of the locals of the woman being infected were baseless and it was a case of natural death. He said there has been no case of coronavirus in the district and movement of people has been stopped.
“A lawyer and a mahant from the neighbourhood of the Jain Temple called us and claimed that there was a death due to coronavirus. However, there has no case related to the virus in Ayodhya yet. Everyone is staying wherever they are. The deceased was 73-year-old and had stopped eating food for last few days. Claims of being infected by COVID-19 were found to be baseless. We spoke to the CMO and he said that even if the deceased was positive, then also the last rites would have been done by cremating the body. The neighbours had also agreed and after that cremation was done.
“The deceased was in Ayodhya from March 23 and had shown no symptoms of the virus. I have met other people also and no one is showing any kind of symptoms,” he said.
Meanwhile, assistant manager of the Jain Temple, Chandar Kumar Jain, said the only objection of the neighbours was the cremation and allegations of coronavirus were all baseless.
“A group of 27 people came to Ayodhya on March 23 and the woman was staying here due to the nationwide lockdown. She had stopped eating for last two-three days and it was a natural death. The objection from the neighbours was about the cremation being done inside the campus,” he said.