Muslim youths affiliated to a local organisation performed the last rites of a 78-year-old Hindu man, who died after a heart attack in Maharashtra's Akola district. According to a report in The Indian Express, the man's son allegedly refused to accept his body, following which the members of the organisation decided to light his pyre.
The man's wife is receiving treatment for Covid-19 at Akola Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH).
The head of the sanitation department at the hospital, Prashant Rajurkar, told IE that local Muslim organisation, Akola Kutchhi Memon Jamaat, decided to perform his last rites after the man's son, who resides in Nagpur, did not accept his body and refused to perform the funeral.
Javed Zakeria, president of the Muslim organisation, told the publication that after the first death was reported in Akola, they had taken the decision to perform the last rites of individuals whose families were not able to do so.
He added that since then, they had organised 60 funerals, out of which 21 were Covid-19 deaths and five were of Hindus.
Meanwhile, Amravati Divisional Commissioner Piyush Singh told the publication that the dean of GMCH received a message at around 6.30 pm that the man had collapsed at his residence, after which an ambulance was dispatched, but the man had died by then. Singh added that according to the protocol, swabs are not collected from a dead body but samples from close relatives are taken.
Maharashtra is one of the states worst-affected by the coronavirus outbreak. As on Sunday, the state recorded 3,041 new COVID-19 cases and 58 deaths, taking the total number of cases to 50,231, of which 33,988 are active cases. In India, the virus has been on a record spike for four consecutive days. In the last 24 hours, the country has recorded 6535 cases, taking the total tally to 1,45,380, of which 80,722 are active cases, 60,490 cured and 4,167 succumbed to the infection, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced.