Representational image.

Assam has so far registered a total of 469 Covid deaths with 16 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours.

Assam heath department sources, however, claimed the number of Covid-19 related deaths in the state is more than what has been recorded by the state health department.

Sources said names of many patients, who died of the Covid-19, did not feature in the list of fatalities released by the state death audit board despite hospital authorities or district administration identified them as Covid deaths.

For instance, Ashim Dutta, a Silchar based journalist, tested positive for the deadly virus and succumbed to the infection at Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) on September 7.

In fact, Assam forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya, in a tweet mourned the demise of Dutta and mentioned that the journalist died of Covid-19.

But, interestingly, Dutta’s name did not feature in the list of Covid-death posted by health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter and Facebook on September 7.

It may be mentioned that the last rites of Dutta were performed with adherence to Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Cachar district administration.

The Journalist Forum of Assam demanded a life insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to Dutta and Dhaneswar Rabha, a photo journalist, who also died of the infection.

Earlier in April, Assam government announced life insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh to all journalists reporting during the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

On the other hand, Narayan Mitra, a 70-year-old businessman based out in South Assam’s Silchar, tested positive for the virus and died at SMCH on July 16.

Yet, his name does not feature in the list of 370 people who, according to the Assam government, have died of the Covid-19, as of September 7, Scroll.in reported.

According to reports, the state death audit board had concluded that Narayan Mitra had died of myasthenia gravis, a chronic neuromuscular condition – not of Covid-19.

The Cachar district administration had reportedly asked the family members of Mitra to strictly adhere Covid-19 protocol while performing his last rites.

Meanwhile, amid surge in Covid-19 related deaths, everyday 10-12 bodies are being cremated at Ulubari crematorium in Guwahati since last month.

Ramananda Sarkar, who works at the Ulubari crematorium, said he has helped with the last rites of over 400 Covid-19 deaths in Guwahat since June 22.

On the other hand, as many as 69 patients, who died of the coronavirus, have been laid to rest at Athgaon burial ground in Guwahati.

Kalpajyoti Saikia

Kalpajyoti Saikia is Senior Reporter of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: kalpasaikia649@gmail.com