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Gujarat village chooses 'digital mourning' amid COVID-19 lockdown


AHMEDABAD: In a bid to encourage social distancing and not violate the COVID-19 lockdown, people in Gujarat's Punsari village chose to hold a digital 'besna' or mourning for one of the locals who died.

The 'besna' was arranged on Facebook on Thursday to enable family and well wishers of late Jayantibhai Darji (60) to pay their tribute from the confines of their homes.

As many as 300 persons, including close relatives and Darji's children, paid their tributes using Facebook Live, former sarpanch of Punsari Himanshu Patel said.

Punsari is generally termed as India's first smart village for implementing various technological measures, such as free WiFi and CCTV surveillance.

"Darji died on Wednesday. In view of the lockdown in the country to stop the spread of coronavirus, I urged his younger brother Natubhai not to arrange a mourning meet, but instead hold a digital besna," Patel said.

As decided, only five men from Darji's family sat in front of his photo outside his home and a laptop with camera was placed on a table nearby, he said.

"We asked his family and well-wishers to pay homage using Facebook Live between 11 am and 12 pm. As many as 300 persons living in different parts of Gujarat and Mumbai paid tributes using technology," Patel said.

Both Darji's son, who lives in Mumbai and daughter from Ahmedabad paid tribute to their father on Facebook, he added.