Bihar woman performs last rites of husband who died of COVID-19 complications, alone

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Express News Service

PATNA: When no relative turned up to help 40-year-old Meena Devi cremate her husband who died due to COVID-19 complications 18 hours ago, the woman took it upon herself to conduct the funeral by herself in Bihar’s Darbhanga district late on Saturday evening. 

45-year-old Harikant Rai, a resident of Khanpur, had tested positive for coronavirus after he attended a religious function colloquially known as ‘Ashtyam’ in his village. 

Rai’s health deteriorated rapidly after suddenly developing high fever. He was taken to the Rosara government hospital from where he was referred to Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital last Thursday.

At DMCH, Rai finally breathed his last.

Upon knowing that Rai had tested positive for the virus, most of his relatives distanced themselves from the family fearing transmission of the infection. His wife continued to seek help from them. 

After Rai’s death on Friday afternoon, his body was left for more than 18 hours in DMCH’s mortuary. Rai’s wife asked relatives to help her do his last rites, but none came forward. 

Social activists associated with Kabir Seva Sansthan came to her rescue when they learnt about her situation. 

Devi, who did not loose heart, wore the PPE kit and received her husband’s body following COVID protocol with the support of social activists. 

Devi was seen weeping inconsolably as she lit her husband’s pyre late evening on Saturday at the Bhiga cremation ground in Darbhanga. 

Kabir Seva Sansthan activists arranged help for cremation rituals. 

As the woman performed the cremation of her husband, three relatives reached the area and remained spectators at a considerable distance. 

Rai leaves behind two minor children who stays with his parents in Samastipur.



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