PULWAMA — The locals in Tujan village of Kashmir Valley’s southern Pulwama district held a protest after a COVID-19 victim’s body was sent wrapped in a blanket without a casket.

The furious villagers said that the victim, 55-year-old female who was tested positive for COVID-19 and died at SKIMS on Saturday morning, was being accompanied by her son who was also without any protective gear.

“The medical team accompanying the dead body wanted to bury it without following any protocol which makes us suspicious whether the dead was even COVID-19 positive,” a local said.

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Another agitated elderly man said, “After being confronted by the people, a doctor among the medical team left his infectious PPE kit on the road here while leaving which speaks volumes about the way these people follow the COVID-19 related advisories.”

The protesting people demanded an enquiry and questioned the SKIMS authorities’ handling of the victim bodies. “A lady died in Safa Kadal and her body was sent in a sealed casket, but the body of female victim belonging to our village is being sent in a blanket. Are the authorities at SKIMS Srinagar making distinctions among the dead,” a local questioned.

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Pertinently, Chief Medical Officer Pulwama was directed to follow necessary protocol in the lady’s burial but the way it was handled puts a question mark on his role as well. However, after nearly five hours, the body was finally buried after locals voluntarily made a casket.

Pertinently, the deceased lady was a case of Meningioma with Obstructive Sleep Apnea as per Dr G H Yatoo, Nodal Officer for COVID-19 at SKIMS. “The patient died due to cardiopulmonary arrest,” he had said.

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