The body of the first COVID-19 deceased was finally cremated in Kerala's Kottayam district, hours after the residents staged a protest against the funeral of the victim on Sunday.
The residents of Muttambalam in Kottayam district raised concerns and said that the cremation would expose the nearby people to high risk of contracting the virus.
The protesters blocked the entrance to the cremation and refused to budge from their stand even after the intervention of Congress MLA and former state minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, post which the authorities had to put the cremation on hold.
Radhakrishnan held talks with the locals and assured them of conducting the funeral at midnight with utmost safety measures.
Later in the evening around 11:15 pm, the body of the 83-year-old deceased Ouseph George was cremated at the Muttambalam crematorium under tight police security.
The cremation was supposed to be conducted in the afternoon, but the protest led by the ward councillor TN Harikumar was staged around the same time, where people blocked the road to the crematorium by erecting a temporary fence.
The procedures of the cremation were led by Kottayam RDO Jolly Joseph and Tahsildar CH Rajendrababu, as per the direction of the district collector M Anjana. Nearly 250 police personnel were present at the spot to seal the road leading to the crematorium under the aegis Additional SP A Nazim, The New Indian Express reported.
According to the report, the deceased was a native of Chungam, a small junction in Kottayam, and had succumbed to the infection at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital on Saturday night.
So far, the district has 873 confirmed cases and reported the first death, along with 467 recoveries. In the last 24-hours, a total of 927 persons in Kerala were diagnosed with the virus.
Of the new active cases, 733 are cases of infection through contact and the contact source of 67 is still unclear. While the death toll stands at 62, the state also recorded 689 recoveries.