Photographs of four bodies of people who died of Covid-19 stacked up in a hearse van in Gandhinagar was widely shared on social media on Thursday, prompting the authorities to activate an additional crematorium and deploy an extra van in the state capital.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel also directed principal secretary, health, Jayanti Ravi and health commissioner Jayprakash Shivhare to seek an explanation from officials of the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital in connection with the incident, which is said to have happened on Wednesday.
Gandhinagar collector Kuldeep Arya told The Indian Express, “Prima facie it came out that one of the CNG furnaces at the (Covid) designated crematorium in Sector 30 was out of order for a day. This led to delay in the process. But certainly this should not have happened. Such disrespectful handling of body should not have been taken place.”
An additional crematorium in Sargasan area of the capital has been earmarked for Covid patients, apart from the Sector 30 crematorium. Arya added that one vehicle has been added to the existing two designated vehicles to carry bodies of Covid patients.
Patel told The Indian Express, “I have taken the incident seriously and have instructed health commissioner and health secretary to seek explanation from whoever has done this and take action. I have also given instructions that patients and their dead bodies should be treated with sensitivity…”
Gandhinagar Mayor Rita Patel said, “Nitinbhai (Patel) has given instructions… Primarily, it comes out that the bodies were kept in a single hearse with consent of the relatives… Exact facts will come out after proper inquiry.”
A close relative of one of four deceased said, “The situation was very sad… we did not find it fit to speak up then. But nobody took our consent,” he said.
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