Death of COVID patients in UP hospitals due to oxygen shortage nothing less than genocide: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court strongly berated the UP government after stories of citizens begging for oxygen with authorities went viral on social media and ordered an inquiry

Allahabad High Court
Allahabad High Court
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NH Web Desk

The death of COVID-19 patients due to non-supply of oxygen to hospitals is a criminal act and nothing less than genocide, the Allahabad High Court said on Tuesday, strongly berating the Uttar Pradesh government and state authorities after stories of citizens begging for oxygen with authorities went viral on social media.

A Bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma proceeded to order an inquiry into incidents of death reported from Meerut and Lucknow hospitals based on the social media reports.

The court observed that the stories which went viral on social media showed poor citizens begging for oxygen cylinders to save the lives of their near and dear ones and harassment meted out to them by district administration and police administration, Bar & Bench reported.

"The news was also viralled that five patients had died in ICU of a new trauma centre of Medical College, Meerut on Sunday last. Similarly, news were also being viralled that one Sun Hospital, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow and another private hospital at Meerut had taken their hands off the admitted COVID patients only for the reason that oxygen supply was not made even after demand," the court observed.

These videos showed quite a contrary picture to one claimed by the government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen.

"We are at pain in observing that death of COVID 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 to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen," the court said.

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, it added.

The court went on to state that normally it would not have asked state or district administration to enquire into such news which are circulated on social media.

But in this case, the lawyers appearing in the matter supported such news and even submitted that the situation in all districts in the state was more or less similar, the court noted.

It, therefore, directed the government to take immediate remedial measures and also ordered an inquiry into the incidents at Meerut and Lucknow.

"We find it necessary to direct for immediate remedial measures to be taken by the government. The District Magistrate, Lucknow and District Magistrate, Meerut are directed to enquire into the matter of such news items within 48 hours and submit their reports on the next date fixed respectively," the court ordered.

They are also directed to appear before the court online on the next date fixed, it further directed.

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