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Locals clash with police over COVID-19 victim's cremation in Gujarat

Locals clash with police over COVID-19 victimImage of a medical worker wearing personal protective equipment wheeling a dead body used for representationa purpose only (Photo | AP)
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Nearly 100 locals residing near the crematorium in Hariom Nagar area asked the civic personnel to take the body somewhere else, claiming its cremation will spread coronavirus in the area.

Anand: Two policemen and an ambulance driver were injured when a mob allegedly attacked them to stop a civic team from performing the last rites of a COVID-19 victim at a crematorium in Gujarat's Anand district, officials said on Wednesday.

The incident took place in Vallabh-Vidyanagar town on Tuesday night, following which 56 people residing near the electric crematorium were arrested, Deputy Superintendent of Police B D Jadeja said.

"Nearly 100 locals residing near the crematorium in Hariom Nagar area surrounded a Khambhat civic team that reached there on Tuesday night with the body of a person who died of coronavirus at a hospital in Karamsad," he said.

They asked the civic personnel to take the body somewhere else, claiming its cremation will spread coronavirus in the area, Jadeja said.

Before police reached the spot, the mob, armed with sticks and stones, allegedly attacked the driver of the ambulance in which the body was kept.

The locals also broke windowpanes of a car belonging to the Khambhat municipality, police sub-inspector T R Gadhvi said.

"Though officials tried to convince the locals that they were following all the safety protocols and guidelines for coronavirus, the mob did not listen. When the police reached the spot, they also hurled stones the security personnel," he said.

"Ahead constable and a Home Guard received head injuries," Gadhvi said, adding the police lobbed a teargas shell and baton-charged the mob to disperse them following which the situation was later brought under control.

The ambulance driver also sustained injuries in the attack, Jadeja said.

Fifty-six people from the area were arrested and booked on charges of rioting, assault, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, Gadhvi said.

The civic team later performed last rites of COVID-19 victim at the crematorium, he added.

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