SANJOY Kr HAZARIKA
DERGAON, May 23 - At a time when social distancing has become the norm during this coronavirus pandemic, an Assamese engineer has set an example by receiving the body of a COVID-19 patient, who was of no relation to him, at New Delhi, 13 days after the patient’s death.
Dibyajyoti Dutta, Senior Technical Director at the National Informatics Centre (NIC), Government of India, in the national capital and the general secretary of the Assam Association received the body of Ajit Saikia (60) of Mahmaiki village of Bokakhat in Golaghat district, who died of COVID-19 at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital on May 7.
The victim had gone to the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital for the treatment of his wife Banti Saikia with his neighbour Kankan Bora. Later, all three got infected by COVID-19. Ajit Saikia was shifted to LNJP Hospital and the other two were quarantined at a hotel.
Though Ajit Saikia died, the hospital authority did not inform the family members of the victim and no one was there to receive the body.
Later, Dutta along with Jaydip Shukla of Assam Bhavan managed to find out the body from the morgue and took it for last rites to the Nigambodh Ghat.
Talking to this correspondent, Dutta said that though at the outset there was a sense of shock, but as a duty to the Assamese people, he even touched the body in the course of identification and on way to the cremation site. “I feel that I have a responsibility to help out our own people,” he said.
Dutta, a 54-year-old engineer originally hailing from Khelmati in North Lakhimpur district, has been staying in New Delhi since 2006.
He also mentioned the initiative of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Tourism Minister Pallab Lochan Das, officials of Assam Bhavan, and volunteer Swaswat Saikia during the entire episode.
The residents of Bokakhat in particular and Assam in general have expressed satisfaction over the help rendered by Dutta during this tragic time for the family.
Meanwhile, Ajit Saikia’s widow Banti Saikia and her neighbour, Kankan Bora arrived at Bokakhat on Friday.