COVID-19: Last bugle outside burial ground as PPE donning health staffers perform CRPF SI's funeral

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) They stood in a line with face masks on and their INSAS rifles cocked to pay their last respects as their 'brother in arms' and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper Mohammed Ikram Hussain lay dead in an ambulance right outside the burial ground.

A ceremonial platoon on Wednesday accorded the last salute and 'salaami shastra' to the 55-year-old Sub-Inspector who succumbed to COVID-19 on Tuesday at the Safdarjung hospital.

Coronavirus medical protocols did not allow Hussain's family members to travel from Assam to be with him during his last journey, how could have we left him alone?, CRPF Deputy Inspector General (intelligence) Moses Dhinakaran asks.

Hussain was buried at the 'jadid qabristan ahle lslam' (name of the burial ground) flanking the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg in the national capital.

As the white ambulance screeched to a halt outside the burial ground around 2 pm, a platoon of 10 CRPF troops, wearing their 'khaki' uniforms, fired shots in the air, lowered their heads in grief and sounded the last post bugle.

The ambulance soon moved away from their sight to go inside the burial ground and the body was lowered into a 10-feet ditch by personal protection equipment (PPE) wearing health workers.

'As per COVID-19 burial guidelines, only designated health workers wearing PPE are allowed to carry the body and perform its last rites. We saw our brother off just outside the burial ground,' a senior official of the paramilitary said.

Hussain was posted with the 31st battalion of the force based in Mayur Vihar phase-III and he is the first casualty of the novel coronavirus among the paramilitary forces or the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

The CAPFs function under the command of the Union Home Ministry and are tasked with the internal security of the country apart from border guarding. PTI NES AQS AQS