After a video emerged on social media purportedly showing bodies of Covid-19 victims being brought out of a hearse van and dumped into a common pit, the deputy commissioner of Karnataka’s Ballari district has ordered an inquiry.
“I will not like to comment on the video. I will check up about the visuals and order for action as required,” Ballari Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul said. “The standard operating procedure does not specify any methods of disposal of bodies. But preferably it is better to do separate burials.”
In the video, which was shot on a mobile phone, workers wearing PPE kits are seen purportedly dumping bodies into a pit. Snatches of conversations in the video seem to indicate one worker asking whether all six bodies should be put in one pit or in separate pits.
Reacting to the video, state Congress president D K Shivakumar said, “It’s disturbing to see bodies of Covid patients being dumped inhumanly into a pit in Ballari. Is this civility? This is a reflection of how the government has handled this Corona crisis… I urge the govt to take immediate action and ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
With no official funerals permitted in Covid-19 deaths, and family and friends usually not allowed on account of being contacts of the victim, the final rites in most cases have been done by municipal and health workers.
Some NGOs have facilitated dignified cremations and burials in cities such as Bengaluru.
Bellari has reported 834 Covid-19 cases and as many as 29 of the 246 deaths related to the virus in Karnataka have occurred in the district.
According to the official health department bulletin, six deaths occurred on June 29 alone, including that of four women. Among the four women was a 31-year-old who was admitted to hospital on June 28 after complaining of breathlessness.
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