RIP Humanity: In Bengal, Son Asked to Pay ₹51,000 to See Body of Father Who Died of Covid-19


RIP Humanity: In Bengal, Son Asked to Pay ₹51,000 to See Body of Father Who Died of Covid-19

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

At a time that calls for empathy, a family was allegedly asked to pay a hefty amount of ₹51,000 by a hospital’s staff just to see the body of a family member who had succumbed to the new coronavirus.

Hari Gupta who had been admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata died on Saturday night. However, according to his son, Sagar, the family was not informed of his demise until many hours later. They received a call from the hospital only on Sunday afternoon. “When we questioned why we were not informed about it, the hospital officials said that they did not have our contact information,” Sagar Gupta told India Today.

But the woes of the Gupta family did not end here.

On reaching the hospital, they were told that the body of the father had already been sent for cremation at Shibpur Burning Ghat. At the cremation ground, the staff at work allegedly tried mooching money off the desperate family by telling them to pay an unexplainable sum of ₹51,000 if they wanted to see the remains of their loved one, one last time.

Not persuaded by the staff’s looting scheme, the family opposed the heavy “fees”. However, the amount was only dropped down to ₹31,000 following which the Guptas approached the police. But the hospital staff present at the crematorium did not budge even after a police officer’s arrival. Instead, they asked the officer to go back, stating that they would only speak to a higher official. To further worsen the situation, when the family members tried to videotape the incident, their phones were allegedly snatched away.

It was only after the incident garnered media’s attention that  the crematorium authorities finally gave into the pressure and charged the family ₹2,500, the deposit amount, to show the body.

The nightmarish episode has caused anger among the public. Is this a “business” model at play?

RIP humanity.