COVID-19 victim’s family claims money was demanded from them

A COVID-19 victim’s family has alleged that money was demanded from them for packing and transporting the body to the crematorium here on May 29.

After testing positive, Palanisamy (65) of Shastri Nagar, who suffered breathlessness, was admitted to the Covid Care Centre (CCC) on Perundurai Road on May 19, while his wife Indrani was in home isolation. Their son Manikandan, who is married, is living at Mettur in Salem district.

On May 29, officials informed Manikandan that his father has died. He along with a few relatives arrived at the CCC at 12 a.m. on Sunday and officials informed him that the body would be moved to the electric crematorium in the morning. They asked him to obtain the polythene packing material from the Government Erode Medical College and Hospital at Perundurai and also an application form from the crematorium, which he did.

But the body was not packed till evening and the free hearse service also did not arrive. Manikandan claimed that workers told him that the vehicle is not available and demanded money for packing and the ambulance. He and his relatives questioned the officials on why they should pay the money and waited outside the centre.

Officials later told him that since the cremation could not be done on Sunday, the body would be shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital.

Later, the body was shifted and kept at the mortuary at 8 p.m. One of his relatives shot the arguments in his mobile phone and the video soon went viral in social media.

As the news spread, revenue officials along with police pacified Manikandan and later the body was taken to the crematorium at Karungalpalayam at 11 p.m. and was cremated. Since Manikandan did not prefer a complaint, no case was registered.

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