Shillong, April 17: The Meghalaya high court has ordered the state government to take strict penal action against those who hinder the last rites of COVID-19 victims.
The order came after the Bar association filed a petition in the court alleging the government was not properly preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, NDTV reported.
In the petition it was mentioned that some local bodies had objected to the funeral of the state’s first coronavirus victim – a Shillong doctor – who was denied a burial at two places. His funeral could take place on Thursday.
The petition also demanded action against those who violated curfew enforced after the man – a doctor at famous Bethany Hospital- was found to be coronavirus positive last week. Six family members of the doctor, who were in contact with him, have also tested positive for the novel virus.
The petitioners have alleged that the people quarantined people in Bethany Hospital in Shillong were left without food and only a bottle of water was provided until 4 PM on Wednesday. They have also alleged that the state is totally unprepared to tackle the global pandemic.
“The State authorities are to strictly follow the guidelines on dead body management as prescribed by the Government of India and by the World Health Organization such as the supply of PPE’s to the detailed staff, apart from notifying the same for the information of the general public for their sensitisation” the High Court said in the order.
“Any person, local body/Durbar Shnong or organisation which obstructs the state authorities in the control of the pandemic or any matter connected thereto, such as dead body management, cremation and burial shall be dealt with in accordance with law and cases to be registered under appropriate provisions of law,” it added.
The court further said the state government must sensitise the public especially where the cremation of burial grounds is situated to avoid any further incident.
Meghalaya has nine COVID 19 positive cases – all from the doctor’s family.