Coronavirus in India: Unable to pay for last rites, woman abandons 15-year-old son’s body

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Illustrative image.
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As the poor continue to suffer the most amidst the COVID-19 crisis in India, in a tragic incident, a woman from Chhattisgarh was reportedly forced to abandon the body of her son as she could not afford to pay for his last rites.

The 15-year-old boy, a resident of Ambikapur city in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, had died of an illness while his father was stuck in their ancestral village of Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh due to the lockdown since March, and his mother was facing a financial crisis. She did not have enough money to get his body cremated and perform his last rites.

The boy has been identified as Kamlesh Chero and his mother’s name is Devanti Chero.

So the grieving mother refused to take her child’s body. After the word spread, some locals came forward to help.

They collected the money and handed it over to Devanti. Eventually, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a policeman came forward to help and performed the funeral of her son.

Devanti was then able to finally bid farewell to her son.

Dainik Bhaskar, an Indian Hindi-language daily newspaper reported that Kamlesh got admitted to the Medical College Hospital in the city on May 23 but died a few days after.

A hospital representative reportedly said that a ‘Muktanjali’ service that the state provides for transportation of mortal remains, free of cost, could have been booked.

The representative also said that the hospital was unaware of the incident and local social services organisations should have come forward to help the family.

The poor have suffered extensively during the coronavirus lockdown in India that began on March 25. Countless incidents of migrant workers being displaced, starved and jobless have emerged.

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