File image of Bethany Hospital in Shillong

Family members of Dr. John L. Sailo Rynthathiang, the first COVID19 victim of Meghalaya, on Wednesday fired a salvo, urging the government to “track down the source of the killer virus”.

Dr Sailo, the first COVID19 patient in Meghalaya, tested positive on April 13 and passed away in less than 48 hours.

Serious questions were raised on the source of COVID19 infection, which killed the popular doctor of Shillong.

At first, a section of people tried to blame Dr Sailo’s son-in-law, who is a pilot with Air India, of spreading the infection.

However, Arthur Wungthingthing, the son-in-law, who had trans-continental travel history, did not develop symptoms, and had tested negative twice.

“Despite the son-in-law being tested negative for COVID19 twice, and earlier also tested negative in Imphal, he was still made the suspected source,” Dr. Sailo’s family members said.

In pursuance of truth, the family said, “It is hoped the authorities will thoroughly track the source of the virus, instead of allowing conjectures to dominate the narrative.”

They said the Manipur government has also written to the Meghalaya government seeking clarification on the matter.

The family members of Dr Sailo did not even have time to mourn as the government had miserably failed to ensure a smooth funeral for the respected doctor of Shillong.

At first, the government could not cremate the body at the Jhalapura electric crematorium due to street protests.

Secondly, the burial of became another ordeal as the local dorbar of Nongpoh refused to allow burial in his own land.

“Amidst the gloom, it was heartening that the Mizoram government intervened to request the Meghalaya government for early burial. Many friends in Mizoram even offered to take the body to Mizoram and bury him with dignity and honour befitting a hero,” they said.

Dr Sailo, who founded the Bethany Hospital in Shillong, was finally buried on April 16 at the Presbyterian Cemetery at Lawmali.

Sadly, the government took 36 hours to organize the funeral of the doctor, who served the people of Meghalaya for such a long time.

The family members said that late Dr. Sailo was renowned for his acumen and skill as a physician, besides being a hard worker, soft-spoken, compassionate, and jovial.

They also expressed their gratitude to the five churches that had volunteered to take over the body for burial in their respective cemeteries.

“In particular, we are ever grateful to Pastors- Rev. E.R. Tynsong (Pastor-in-charge Riatsamthiah Presbyterian Church) and Rev. Lyndan Syiem (Pastor in-charge Mawroh Presbyterian Church) for conducting the funeral service in Khasi and English, before the body was laid to rest at the Church cemetery,” they said.

In a requiem, the family members of late Dr Sailo from Nagaland said that the renowned physician came from a line of illustrious pioneers who distinguished themselves in the service of people.

Dr. Sailo’s mother, late Dicky Sailo Ryntathiang was a well-known educationist and social worker in Shillong. She was the daughter of Dr. Lukira, the first Mizo doctor and Glossimon Ryntathiang.

His late father, Capt. L.R. Sailo was the son of the chief of Kelsih (Mizoram) and the first Mizo to graduate from the Indian Military Academy (IMA).

Late Capt. Sailo joined the Indian Frontier Administrative Service (IFAS), and was posted as Political Officer to North East Frontier Agency (NEFA).

Capt. Sailo was among those involved withdrawing the McMohan line between India and China. He died and was buried in NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh).

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