Allahabad HC calls deaths due to oxygen shortage comparable to ‘genocide’
India continues to experience a surge in coronavirus cases with a shortage of medical oxygen, medicines, and hospital beds across states for Covid patients. Amid this news about deaths in Covid-19 patients due to oxygen, shortage doesn’t seem to subside. On Tuesday, Allahabad High Court called out DMs (District Magistrates) of Lucknow and Meerut to verify reports of the increased number of Covid people dying as a result of oxygen shortage. The court discerned, “death of Covid patients just for non-supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide”.
Allahabad High Court bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar asked the responsible authorities “how can we let people die in this way”. This is especially unfortunate as medical science has advanced to peak with groundbreaking procedures being performed routinely. The observation was made by the court while hearing a PIL. The bench also said that they “find it necessary to direct for immediate remedial measures to be taken by the government”.
DMs have been asked by HC to submit the detailed report within 48 hours. Next hearing date is on Friday until when the reports must have been submitted.
Court further underlined that stories on social media showed poor people begging for oxygen being harassed by police and district administration. Court order read, “We find these news items showing a quite contrary picture to one claimed by the Government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen.” However, the government’s decision of finally imposing lockdown across Uttar Pradesh is welcomed by the court. HC added “any slackness on the part of the Election Commission” on a number of deaths of officials reported who were on poll duty during panchayat polls “will not be tolerated”.
On April 27, court had taken note of a report published in Hindi daily newspaper Amar Ujala that revealed deaths of 135 teachers, ‘Shiksha Mitras‘ and investigators who were on election duty was due to Covid-19. DMs have been asked to submit clarifications into these deaths.