Death of COVID patients due to Oxygen scarcity nothing less than genocide: Allahabad High Court
On Tuesday, the Allahabad High Court said that death of Covid-19 patients due to non-supply of oxygen to hospitals is a criminal act and nothing less than genocide. The High Court strongly criticized the Uttar Pradesh government and State authorities after stories of citizens pleading for Oxygen with authorities went viral on social media.
A Bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma, therefore, 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 aggravation meted out to them by district administration and police administration.
The Court observed, "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."
It said that these videos showed quite a conflicting picture to one claimed by the Government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen.
The Court said, "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 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 instant remedial measures and also ordered for inquiry into the incidents at Meerut and Lucknow.
The Court ordered, "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." It further directed them to appear before the Court online on the next date fixed.