Covered with a handful of colorful flowers and identified by a simple number, dozens of clay urns containing the ashes of more than 1,200 Covid-19 victims, whose bodies no one searched for, were sunk Wednesday during a Hindu ceremony near Bangalore, southern India.
A ritual celebrated on the banks of the Cauvery, a river that crosses the state of Karnataka, at a time when India is plunged into a new epidemic wave, which has officially killed 160,000 people in the last eight weeks, threatening to do so. health care system and funeral services.
Hinduism believes that immersing or scattering ashes in the waters of a river enables the liberation of the soul of the deceased.
But urns containing the ashes of hundreds of victims of the new coronavirus piled up in a crematorium on the outskirts of Bangalore, wishing that relatives had found them.
Some could not afford it, but many others feared infection by going to overcrowded crematoria, where bodies are continuously cremated.
“Two or three members of the same family may have succumbed to the virus and their relatives feared infection, so they did not come for the ashes,” said Kiran Kumar, an employee of TR Mills Crematorium in Bangalore.
City officials, concerned about the accumulation of ballot boxes, decided to solve the problem by organizing a religious ceremony in Belakavadi, about 125km from Bangalore.
Before they were submerged, the urns were sprinkled with red flowers and surrounded by marigold wreaths.