NHRC on Ganga river and Dead Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) recently came up with eleven recommendations to stop mass disposal of COVID-19 victims in the Ganges. More than fifty bodies washed up on the Ganges river bank recently.

Legislation

The River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities order say that no person shall carry a project or process that causes pollution in river Ganga.

What is the issue?

The holy river Ganges is increasingly polluted with the dumping of COVID-19 patients after their death. This is seriously affecting the persons dependent on the river for their day-to-day activities. This is mainly happening for two reasons. One, the river is considered to be holy and the other is that there is shortage of spaces in crematories and grave yards. GoI has launched mobile crematories in some places to solve the issue.

Recommendations made by NHRC

  • Temporary arrangements to avoid undue delay in cremations.
  • The Burial ground and the crematory staffs should be sensitized about proper handling of the dead bodies. They should be provided with essential safety equipment and facilities to perform their day to day duties.
  • Only those religious rituals that so not require touching the dead bodies should be allowed.
  • The state or local administration may perform the last rites if the family members are not there or are not willing to perform the last rites out of fear.
  • Use of electric crematoriums should be encouraged.
  • Piling of dead bodies during transportation shall not be allowed.
  • Mass burial or cremation shall not be allowed.
  • The prices of ambulance services should be regulated
  • The staffs of burial grounds, crematoriums should be paid fair wages to compensate their hard work.

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