Local people help the medical team at Tujan village in Pulwama for making a casket for the deceased victim
Local people help the medical team at Tujan village in Pulwama for making a casket for the deceased victim (Photo by Reshi Irshad)

PULWAMA — In what appears to be a cover-up to the mismanagement of a COVID-19 victim’s body at Tujan village of Pulwama district on Saturday, Chief Medical Officer Pulwama has come up with a press statement, denying any lapse on his part.

In fact, the statement issued by the CMO Pulwama in response to our news report doesn’t talk of the protest held by the local people who demanded a casket for the body.

The aggrieved people revealed that even the deceased woman’s son, accompanying the body in the ambulance, was seen without any PPE, which again made the people suspicious about the ‘dignified burial’.

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It is a matter of fact that the body took the medical team nearly five hours to bury it. This is because the locals couldn’t be convinced by the health team and only after a casket was made with the help of locals, the burial was made possible.

The protocol is to wash/sanitize a PPE used by the medics accompanying a COVID-19 victim, but the same was thrown undisposed on the road, as seen in the video story by The Kashmir Pulse. The local people are a witness to this account as well.

It needs to be questioned that why wasn’t a casket provided to the dead body when the same could have avoided the uncomfortable situation for the medical team. Additionally, this would have let the CMO Pulwama concentrate on his own job instead of sermonizing journalists and labelling an eyewitness account of the incident as ‘fake news’.

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As journalists in Kashmir are working under very difficult conditions, the CMO Pulwama’s statement, issued from his cozy office, is no less than a hurdle to stop the free and fair news reporting in the Valley. This needs to stop once and for all, so that all the erring officials are held accountable.

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