Graphic video warning
A disturbing video went viral on social media, and can be seen in the story below. It is being used as it is a key part of the story.
A video clip that shows health officials, in the Indian state of Karnataka, throwing the bodies of coronavirus victims into a large pit has drawn harsh criticism over the “inhuman” handling of the deceased.
After the video went viral yesterday, Ballari district’s deputy commissioner apologised to the families of the deceased and said a probe has been ordered. The team that carried out the burial has been disbanded, reportedly.
The video, showed workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tossing body bags into deep pits, and was shared on Twitter by a politician DK Shivakumar, who wrote: “It’s disturbing to see bodies of COVID-19 patients who have died being dumped inhumanly into a pit in Ballari.”
“Is this civility? This is a reflection of how the government has handled this coronavirus crisis. I urge the government to take immediate action and ensure that this doesn't happen again,” he added in the tweet.
Tweep @Shlok_P1798 posted: “Inhumane, and a disgusting act... Each person has his own dignity. Shame on this heinous act.”
State officials issued an apology to the families, after confirming that the footage was genuine.
According to a news report on mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com, an inquiry was carried out by officials who confirmed that eight COVID-19 patients who had died, were being buried by the team. The deaths were all reported on Monday after their test results arrived. Additional deputy commissioner PS Manjunath said: “The video shows disrespectful handling of bodies while they were being lowered into the pit. All safety protocol related to burial of COVID-19 patients was followed but the administration is deeply pained by the manner in which the mortal remains of the deceased were handled.”
“Every person who dies of COVID-19 deserves a dignified burial. The staff involved in the task should respect the dead and conduct the last rites in a dignified manner,” he added. Manjunath also said the entire field team has been disbanded, pending inquiry.
“A new team trained by the forensic department head of Vijayapura Institute of Medical Sciences will be deployed for duty,” he said.
According to news reports, state health minister, B. Sriramulu, condemned the "inhumane burial". He tweeted: "It is our culture and tradition to perform the last rites with proper respect and regard. Do not show any disrespect to the patients who die of COVID-19. Show humanity."
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa also called the incident “inhuman and painful”. In a series of tweets, he posted: “The behaviour of the health workers with the dead bodies of the Covid-19 victims is inhuman and painful.
“I appeal to the health workers to be kind to coronavirus victims, and perform the last rites of the deceased with honour. There is no religion bigger than humanity.”