Deaths of COVID-19 patients due to lack of supply of oxygen to hospitals “is a criminal act and not less than a genocide by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen,” the Allahabad High Court said on Tuesday while asking the district administration in two districts in Uttar Pradesh to verify reports of shortage of oxygen in hospitals.
“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,” the court further asked.
A division bench of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar made the observations while taking note of the death of five patients in the ICU of the new trauma centre of Medical College Meerut last Sunday and reports of two hospitals, one each in Meerut and Lucknow, allegedly taking their hands off the admitted COVID-19 patients only for the reason that they did not get oxygen supply despite demanding it. “We find these news items showing a quite contrary picture to one claimed by the Government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen,” the court said.
The judges also noted the “stories of hoarding of oxygen cylinders and harassment meted out to those poor citizens who were begging for an oxygen cylinder to save the life of their near and dear ones” by the police and district administration.
The court directed the district magistrates of Meerut and Lucknow to enquire into the reports within 48 hours and submit their reports on the next day, May 7.
The court also directed the State Election commission to produce the CCTV footage of the designated counting areas and centres in Agra, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Gautam Buddha Nagar during the counting for the panchayat polls, which concluded on May 4.