'Genocide': UP court on COVID-19 patients' death from oxygen shortage
In a strong statement, the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday observed that the death of coronavirus patients due to oxygen shortage at hospitals is "not less than a genocide" at the hands of the authorities assigned with the task to ensure uninterrupted supply of the life-saving gas. Notably, dozens across India have died due to lack of oxygen supply. Here are more details.
The court said such deaths are a 'criminal act'
"We are at a pain in observing that death of COVID-19 patients just for non-supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide by those who have been entrusted the task," a Division bench of Justices Siddharth Verma and Ajit Kumar observed. They made the remarks on some news items and social media posts in this regard.
'How can we let our people die this way?"
"How can we let our people die in this way when science is so advanced that even heart transplantation and brain surgery are taking place these days (sic)," the court added. The incidents that were highlighted before the court were from Lucknow and Meerut districts.
Court orders district-level inquiry into the incidents
The High Court directed the District Magistrates of Lucknow and Meerut to conduct an inquiry into the incidents and submit their reports on the next decided date. They are also required to appear before the court online on the next date of hearing. The court said that it is necessary to initiate "remedial measures" in order to check such incidents.
'Necessary to direct for immediate remedial measures'
The court said, "Normally, we would have not directed the state and district administration to inquire into such news that has become viral on social media (sic)." "But since the advocates who were appearing in this PIL supported such news...We find it necessary to direct for immediate remedial measures to be taken by the government," it added.
5 died due to oxygen shortage in Meerut last Sunday
The court made the scathing remarks after being informed that five patients had allegedly died in the ICU of a trauma center at Medical College, Meerut, last Sunday. Similar incidents had been reported from Sun Hospital, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow as well as another private hospital in Meerut. Apart from UP, several other states, including national capital Delhi, have also reported such incidents.
India's COVID-19 crisis
Private as well as state-run hospitals across several states have been flagging an acute shortage of medical oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients while dozens died due to the shortage. This is happening even as India has been gripped by a dreadful second wave of the pandemic. In the last 24 hours, the country logged 3.82 lakh new COVID-19 infections and 3,780 deaths.