MALANG, KOMPAS.com – Commissioner Sutiono, who only goes by one name, is one of Indonesia's East Java police officers who have been sleeping at cemeteries in Malang lately. His duty is not only to guard burial processions for Covid-19 victims, but he is also one of the volunteers who take on the task of burying the dead left by the coronavirus pandemic.
It started when Sutiono’s boss at the East Java police Malang precinct, Senior Commissioner Leonardus Simarmata, needed to have some police personnel volunteer for burial processions for coronavirus victims in the area. The idea was brought up to his team as residents of some cities in the country refused the Covid-19 dead to be buried in the community cemeteries, arguing that the deceased would spread the virus.
He said that volunteers from the police are expected to be able to prevent the rejection of the burial of Covid-19 victims. At that time, Sutiono was willing to fulfill the request from his leader. During the burial processions, he works in a team with other volunteers from the public safety center (PSC).
“Altogether there are six volunteers, including me, from the East Java police Malang precinct. With our colleagues from the PSC, we carry out the burial processions while the gravediggers are the people from the Parks and Forestry Agency,” the precinct’s chief of intelligence and security agency said Tuesday, July 7 at the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) building in Malang.
“So far [I have buried] 57 bodies [of Covid-19 patients],” he added.
He said those who were buried under the Covid-19 protocols were patients under surveillance (PDP) and were confirmed positive.
Sutiono and other volunteers bring the bodies of Covid-19 patients from their house to the designated burial site and bury them.
Sometimes it's difficult to deal with some families of the Covid-19 victims when they do not understand the health protocol, said Sutiono. They insist on holding a wake at the house of the deceased before the funeral, and the volunteers have to explain the Covid-19 burial protocols.