Several Reports, from reputed Indian newspapers, have stated that as the deaths by Covid 19 go staggeringly high, cremation prices in many parts of India have been hijacked by profiteering groups. They are responsible for the increased cremation charges. The Times of India, the largest circulated English daily in the country, started reporting this from April 19, 2021. The newspaper found that the rates for cremations were hijacked. It also found that in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi’, the rates for cremation were hiked from Rs 5000 (approximately USD 68) to more than double to Rs 11,000. The Reports mentioned a person who was charged Rs 22,000 for the cremation of his aunt on April 14, 2021 and then Rs 30,000 for the cremation of his grandmother just a couple of days later.

The situation was the same in Patna, the capital of the neighbouring province of Bihar, 250 km. away. The Authorities had to install CCTV cameras to detect profiteering instances as reported by IndiaToday.

The situation is no different thousands of kilometers away, down south. For example, Funeral Agencies were found charging exorbitant prices ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000 in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada. According to reports, Government Authorities have been alarmed by the extent to which this is spreading.

It has also been noted that the number of dead bodies thrown into the rivers has also increased. Some speculate that this is due to the fact that people are unable to pay funeral expenses.

It is no surprise then that the Indian Government has failed to the extent that it is unable to give any kind of genuine leadership to deal with the Covid 19 crisis. It is no surprise that around the miseries of the masses, many kinds of profiteering practices would emerge. It has been seen, in all major crises, that when a crisis deepens, the inhuman aspects that lie beneath society begin to surface. And most unconscionable practices develop to profit from human misery.

The Government must accept full blame for this matter. It must be held responsible for the failure to stop these practices. Even in normal times, Indian law-enforcement capacity is very low and often is very corrupt. It is unable to provide the kind of services required for human security. Now, the Government is proving that it is not even capable of providing an atmosphere for decent burials to take place.

One of the famous actors Sonu Sood has said publicly that their foundation trying to help people on issues such as getting Oxygen, ICU beds, and the like. However, now the request they are receiving from the people is for the assistance for cremations of dead bodies.

As pointed out by many critics already, what is prevailing in India today is a grave humanitarian crisis. One of the prominent critics, Arundhati Roy, has described it as a crime against humanity.


Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-008-2021
Countries : India,
Issues : Administration of justice, Impunity, Right to health, Right to life,