Jammu: Two men lost their lives in PPE during the cremation of their uncle who lost his battle to COVID-19.
Death in PPE Kit: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has approved financial assistance for the next of kin of two men who lost their lives during cremation of a coronavirus victim. According to a PTI report, J&K Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu on Monday gave his assent to provide Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the two men who died in personal protective equipment (PPE) kits.
The two men who lost their lives have been identified as Vimal Zadoo (42) and Vipin Zadoo (35). The two were cousin brothers and passed during the cremation of their uncle who lost his battle to COVID-19.
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Vimal and Vipin had reportedly died due to dehydration and suffocation while performing the last rites on the banks of the Tawi near Sidhra on June 18. Both tested negative for Covid-19 later.
Their mysterious death prompted the administration to order a magisterial probe.
As per the report, the UT administration will provide an ex-gratia amount of Rs 10 lakh each in favour of next of kin of Vimal and Vipin. Both were residents of Jammu division.
Family of Vimal and Vipin had alleged that it was a murder and demanded registration of FIR against the administration and police under relevant sections.
Sandhu Zadoo, wife of Vimal, said her husband and brother-in-law were murdered. She said that the two suffered scorching heat inside PPE kits for hours and died on their way to cremation in high temperature while pleading the officials and police for water.
Vimal and Vipan’s uncle had a travel history to Delhi. He had tested positive last Wednesday and died at Government Medical College (GMC) Hospital in Jammu the same day.
Vimal and Vipan accompanied the deceased’s son to the hospital next morning. According to the family, the hospital staff made all three wear PPE kits and go inside the mortuary to identify the body and bring it out. The three were then made to board the ambulance along with the body and proceed towards Sidhra.
According to a report in The Indian Express which cited family members, the ambulance reportedly stopped opposite the entrance of Golf Course at Sidhra around 12:15 pm. The driver and three cousins in PPE kits sat inside the vehicle for 15 minutes. In the meantime, Amit Zadoo, another relative, arrived in his own vehicle and guided the ambulance to the cremation shed beside the Tawi.
Upon arrival, one of the ambulance’s occupants started vomiting, even as a revenue official called the others to take the body to another location along the riverbank. Police then arrived and the ambulance was led towards the riverbed.
Five hundred metres on, a tyre of the vehicle got stuck and the family members were asked to push the vehicle. Vimal was the first to fall unconscious while others asked for water and soon Vipan and the deceased’s son lost consciousness.
Amit Zadoo picked up the deceased’s son and rushed him to hospital. He was revived but Vimal and Vipal lay there for hours while no officials or the police came forward to help for fear of coronavirus infection.
Meanwhile, officials said that the administration has also approved a financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh in favour of NoK’s of Kamal Kumar of Chapati Kalan, residents of Hiranagar in Kathua district, who died at a quarantine centre here.