In an incident of communal harmony, a Catholic Church in Kerala's Alappuzha district opened its cemetery for the cremation of a Hindu man who passed away due to COVID-19.
The body of 86-year-old K Srinivas was consigned to flames at the cemetery of St George Church in Edathua on Tuesday night. This act has even won the praise of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
"The action of St George Church, Edathua to allow the pyre of a COVID-19 patient, who was not a member of that parish, at the church cemetery is commendable," Vijayan said as reported by The Indian Express.
Srinivasan, a migrant of Tamil origin, had passed away on Tuesday, May 25. Currently, his five-member family is under quarantine as all of them had tested positive for COVID-19. Reports state that his residence and premises were also waterlogged due to heavy rain.
The Edathua village panchayat member M D Thomas said that as several deaths were happening in the hospital, they could not keep the body at the mortuary for long. Hence, they approached church parish priest Mathew Chooravady seeking permission to cremate the man's body. Briefly, after a short consultation with the parish office-bearers, Fr Mathew agreed to hold the cremation at the cemetery.
Fr Mathew said that this gesture was his responsibility. "This is an unusual day of pandemic. We all have to support the needy at the hour of crisis. Allowing the pyre of a Hindu at the cemetery was an occasion to demonstrate Christian love, which I preach." he said.