Indore: The unprecented death and loss caused by the second wave of Covid-19 in India seems to have melted the hearts of even hardened criminals. A murder convict in who is out on parole in Madhya Pradesh, for instance, has turned to serving the public by performing last rites of covid-19 victims at a crematorium.
Shyam Baba who was convicted in a murder case in 2009 was recently released from prison on parole. As Civid-related fatalities increased, Baba decided to start serving at a local crematorium in Dhar district, around 60 km from Indore. While cremation of Covid-positive patients reuires those performing last rites to follow strict protocols, Baba has made it a point to perform the last rites of Covid-19 victims whose own families decline to cremate them out of fear of infection.
Spending time inside the crematorium has become part of Baba’s daily routine now. He spends most of his day inside, helping unload dead bodies from ambulances, arranging them them on funeral pyres and performing their last rites when required.
Impressed by his dedication in serving those in need including the dead amid the severe pandemic, Baba’s parole officers in prison have sanctioned two months of additional parole for Baba who is eager to continue his services inside the crematorium. The parolee, however, is also saddened by so many deaths all around. “I regularly pray to the almighty that this series of casualties must stop and things should improve,” Baba tells News18.
This is not the first time that murder convict has served society since being convicted. A senior social worker from Dhar district Hemendra Singh Panwar lauded the efforts of the prisoner and confirmed that Baba had also served the society last year during the pandemic.
With the dangers posed by the rising Covid-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh, a large number of prisoners have been released on parole from jails across the state. Last year, around 12,000 prisoners were released under similar conditions during the first wave of the pandemic.
(With inputs Navin Mehar)