Family members of a patient who died yesterday in the Tapsikhata Covid Hospital in Tapsikhata village in Alipurduar had to face harassment from the local people as they performed the last rites at the cremation ghat. It is learnt that the 32- year-old youth from Chaparepar village under the Alipurduar police station had recently returned from Delhi and was first admitted in the SARI Level-2 hospital in Falakata (Falakata Super Speciality Hospital) on 18 June after he fell ill.

It is learnt that the youth had been suffering from tuberculosis. However, he was shifted to the Covid hospital in Falakata on 18 June after his condition deteriorated, while the throat swab sample was collected for Covid test.

While the villagers claimed that the youth died of Covid19, health officials said that the youth had tested negative for the virus. “The patient was tested negative for Covid.

That is why we handed over the body to the family. We admitted the person in the Covid hospital due to the symptoms,” said the Deputy CMOH-2 in Alipurduar, Dr Subarna Goswami.

“The body was first taken to the electric crematorium in Alipurduar town yesterday evening, but locals there protested and did not allow the cremation,” local sources said.

“The body was then taken to the burning ghat in the village where the deceased lived, but a similar protest greeted them there too,” they added.

The body was finally buried on the residential plot of the deceased person today after the local panchayat and the administration decided to do the same.

“The funeral was stopped by Bharatiya Janata Party workers yesterday. At last, we solved the problem and decided to bury the body in the family’s plot in the village,” said the Sabhapati of the Alipurduar-2 panchayat samiti, Anup Das.

The BJP, on the other hand, criticized the ruling party and the administration over the issue.

“The Covid test report was handwritten, so how can anyone say it was authentic? The body was buried and it broke the tradition of the family as it should have been cremated. Where was the administration when the protests went on? Where was the local Trinamul panchayat?” said the general secretary of the Alipurduar district BJP, Suman Kanjilal.