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Tamil Nadu: Father, son conducted 64 funerals during second Covid wave | Madurai News – Times of India


At a time when even next of kin are refusing to perform last rites of those who die of Covid-19, A Ayub Khan, a DMK functionary, has been ensuring that the dead get a dignified burial/ cremation in Sivaganga. He has conducted 64 funerals so far during the second wave of the infection in the state.

MADURAI: At a time when even next of kin are refusing to perform last rites of those who die of Covid-19, A Ayub Khan, a DMK functionary, has been ensuring that the dead get a dignified burial/ cremation in Sivaganga. He has conducted 64 funerals so far during the second wave of the infection in the state.
Sivaganga DMK youth wing secretary Ayub Khan said that he started helping people since the first wave last March. “I found that deaths by Covid-19 were one of the biggest burden to bear for next of kin and decided to perform the final rites when their families were unable to do so,” he said.
He has cremated or buried 16 bodies during the first wave and 64 in the second wave, including two funerals that he performed on Sunday. His son A Raja, 19, accompanies his father nowadays to help in performing the last rites.
“There have been instances when the sole attendant for the deceased person is a woman, who becomes so distraught after the demise of her husband or son, that they ask us to perform the funeral right away because they are unable to bring people in the short time period. Some of them pay the funeral charges, which is about 2,500 for cremation or burial, while others do not as they do not have the money,” he added.
“The are some who die after being declared Covid-19 negative according to the certificate given by the hospitals while there are families who are reluctant to even touch or perform rituals for these bodies,” he said. The cost of PPEs, gloves and other protective gear for himself, his son and two others Khader and Ganeshan are are borne by him.
“Covid has also changed the depth of family bondings – there are people who beg us to perform the rituals because they have small children, a pregnant wife or some other reason, fearing infection,” said Khan, adding that there were people who just did not turn up at the cemeteries and ended their duty just by paying for the rites. “My son was moved by these stories that I narrated when I reached home everyday and now he helps me and also in the Covid ward,” he said.
S P Shanmuganathan, whose daughter lost her father in-law Sivaprakasam of Ukulathanpatti near Tirupattur during the first wave to Covid, said that Khan performed the last rites because the family had problems in performing it. “It was a blessing and he did it with all sincerity,” he said. Another relative Manimaran of Thanipatti was also cremated by Khan.
Last year, Chief Minister M K Stalin during a visit to Sivaganga, when he was the opposition leader, had commended Khan’s work and awarded him for his service. “That was something beyond my dreams and it also encouraged me to go on,” he added.

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