Imphal: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many people are being deprived of performing the last rites of their near and dear ones.

During this critical juncture, Thokchom Radheshyam, a local MLA from Heirok assembly constituency in Manipur, along with volunteers of Heirok Kendra COVID-19 Warriors Committee stepped in to conduct the funeral of a COVID-19 victim.

Tonjam Chandramani, an elderly woman from Thokchom village, had succumbed to the coronavirus on Thursday. However, due to fear of being infected, there was reportedly no one else to perform the last rites of the deceased woman.

“Human Dignity, rites for the departed soul and moments shared by near & dear ones during the Pandemic have shattered us. Parting a lifeless body according to our beliefs: a scene that cannot be described yet felt by all of us,” wrote Radheshyam on Twitter while sharing the visuals of performing the last rites of the COVID-19 victim.

Radheshyam, a former education minister of the state, said it is unfortunate that an elderly woman from Thokchom village died from COVID-19 infection at her residence on Thursday.

This was even after the spread of the virus in the village, which had earlier reached the level of community transmission, was significantly reduced due to the efforts of COVID-19 warriors, volunteers and members of the community.

The deceased woman tested positive for COVID-19 on May 11. She stayed at the Community Home Isolation Centre from May 12 till her referral on May 17, following which she returned to her residence where she breathed her last on Thursday, reports said.

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As informed by the MLA, there have been frequent reports of such instances in Heirok and in the whole state, where there has been no one willing to conduct the funeral of COVID-19 victims.

There are several families that have been left in the lurch because of their inability to perform the last rites of their near and dear ones, he added.

He further said that for Heirok assembly constituency, there is no need to worry about such incidents as the COVID-19 warriors are always there to perform the last rites of any victim of the virus.

“Funerals are a part of our culture and traditions along with floral offerings over the body of the deceased,” he continued, assuring that no family in Heirok will have to face any kind of difficulty in performing the last rites in case of a member succumbing to the virus.

“The funeral will be performed by me and the COVID warriors,” he added.

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