After much controversy over the death of former Hazoori Raagi at Sri Harmandir Sahib and Padma Shri recipient Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, who had tested positive for COVID-19, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday called up his son and nephew to convey his condolences, and assured them of the government’s full support in the treatment of his family members who had also contracted the virus.
All patients currently being treated for COVID-19 will be provided proper care in line with the government’s medical protocol, Amarinder assured the Raagi’s son Amiteshwar Singh and nephew Jagpreet Singh. He also told them that the health department will closely monitor their progress and asked them to personally contact him should they need any further assistance, a government statement said.
The CM’s statement came two days after Khalsa’s death. His nephew had released an audio recording of the raagi’s purported last call to his family, hours before his death. In the clip, the raagi is purportedly heard saying that he was not being looked after in the hospital.
His death has become a political issue in the state with the Opposition taking on the government. On Saturday, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal had tweeted: “My heart is heavy with regret that we have let Panth’s gem Bhai Nirmal Singh ji slip out from amidst us due to sheer negligence of Amritsar Govt hospital. Bhai Sahab, his family & their cries for help went unheard by unequipped hospital, non-caring govt and its Health Minister.”
The CM has ordered an inquiry into Khalsa’s death, but later gave a clean chit to the doctors saying that they were performing their duties well.
Terming as unfortunate the delay in the raagi’s cremation due to unfounded fears of some local persons in Amritsar, the chief minister said this was due to misinformation and he had issued strict directives that no such incident should be allowed to take place in the future.
Amarinder said he had asked the State Chief Secretary and DGP to ensure proper compliance with government instructions by all health and other officials at the district level, as well as to educate the public and take strict action against those found violating such instructions.
“Every deceased person deserves proper cremation and there is a laid down health protocol on handling the body of a deceased COVID-19 patient. This must be duly followed and local people should dispel fears that cremation of a COVID-19 patient may spread the disease in the area,” said the chief minister.
On Saturday, Amarinder had deputed Medical Education Minister OP Soni to visit and check on the affected family members in hospital.
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