New Delhi: Faced with an increase in number of cases of either veterans or dependents of its personnel succumbing to the deadly second Covid-19 wave, the Army has set up a special cell at the Delhi Cantonment to provide “decent last rites” to members of its own family, ThePrint has learnt.
This comes at a time the Army has stepped its efforts to help the civil administration in fighting the Covid-19 crisis.
While the focus of the nation remains on doing everything possible to save each precious life, the Army silently continues to carry out its time-honoured duty of bidding a fitting farewell to its personnel who have succumbed to the virus, a source in the force said.
The Army has an Assured Decent Last Rites Scheme (ADLRS). Under this scheme, every local station has a system and budget meant for all cases of fallen soldiers — from receiving the body at the airport, further transportation and giving funds to the family for the last rites.
However, keeping the deadly wave in mind and the rising numbers, a special cell has been created to take care of Covid-related cases involving veterans and dependents.
All aspects of the cremation, organised at the Brar Square Crematorium in the Delhi Cantonment, is handled by a Special Cell created at the Delhi Cantonment, sources said.
Additional personnel have been mobilised and special hearse vans have been hired to ensure that families are provided full support for a hassle-free cremation, they added.
In cases where it is not possible to move the mortal remains to Brar Square, necessary coordination is being done with the state or district administration to ensure proper last rites.
“And where no family member is available to handle the last rites, this solemn duty is also being undertaken by the Army,” a second source said.
The sources refused to give specific figures of the last rites done and the actual increase in cases because of Covid.
All Covid & Army protocols followed
Sources said that the last rites are being conducted with proper Covid-19 protocols as well as Army traditions.
The soldiers involved in the process have all been given proper PPE kits and even the wreath laid are also covered up on the sides to ensure all safety protocols are put in place.
The Army has already converted the Base Hospital in the Cantonment as a full-fledged Covid facility and moved patients there to the Army Research and Referral Hospital.