Death due to oxygen shortage is not less than genocide, says Allahabad HC

Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

Death of coronavirus patients due to non supply of oxygen to hospitals is a criminal act and nothing less than genocide, the Allahabad High Court said on Tuesday strongly criticising the Uttar Pradesh government, Bar and Bench reported.

“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 of the liquid medical oxygen,” court said.

The Bench of Justices Ajit Kumar and Siddhartha Varma also proceeded to order an inquiry into incidents of death reported from Meerut and Lucknow hospitals based on the social media reports.

“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,” the court ordered.

The Court said 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 harassment meted out to them by the government officials including district administration and police.

Court said: “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-19 patients only for the reason that oxygen supply was not made even after demand.”

“We find these news items showing a quite contrary picture to one claimed by the Government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen,” court said as a response to UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s denying shortage of oxygen in the state.

“How can we let our people die in this way when science is so advanced that even heart transplantation and brain surgery are taking place these days,” asks judges.

The Court was hearing a suo motu case initiated by it last month in relation to the COVID-19 crisis in Uttar Pradesh.

On the deaths of polling agents due to COVID-19, the court said it makes it clear that any slackness on the part of Election Commission on this issue will not be tolerated.

“We direct the State Election Commission to produce before us the CCTV footage of UP Panchayat Election 2021 procedures,” court asked.

The teachers’ union in Uttar Pradesh has submitted a list of 577 teachers who died while on panchayat poll duty to the state election commission (SEC). But UP government remain in denial about the medical emergency which has killed hundreds without adequate health facilities.