A video purportedly showing health workers dumping some bodies of COVID-19 victims in a mass grave in Ballari district in Karnataka triggered a massive outrage on social media on Tuesday.
The video shared by Congress leader DK Shivakumar showed officials “inhumanly” dumping bodies in a large pit.
The authenticity of the video was confirmed by the district administration which said that the entire field team involved in the incident has been disbanded.
A top official in the district said they were inquiring into it.
“It’s disturbing to see bodies of COVID 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 Corona crisis. I urge the govt to take immediate action and ensure that this doesn`t happen again,” Shivakumar said in his tweet accompanying the video.
It’s disturbing to see bodies of COVID patients who have died being dumped inhumanly into a pit in Ballari.
Is this civility? This is a reflection of how the govt has handled this Corona crisis.
I urge the govt to take immediate action and ensure that this doesn’t happen again. pic.twitter.com/lsbv5ZUNCR
— DK Shivakumar (@DKShivakumar) June 30, 2020
In the video, the workers wearing personal protection equipment are seen bringing bodies in black sheets from a vehicle parked nearby and dropping one after another into the large pit, dug up with the help of an earthmover.
The video soon went viral on social media platforms with the claim that the incident took place in Ballari, the home district of state Health Minister B Sriramulu.
The Deputy Commissioner, Ballari issued a statement saying that it had conducted an enquiry after the video surfaced and it was found that the video belonged to the district and “comprises of burial of eight people who passed away after succumbing to COVID-19.”
Although, according to the DC, all protocols and SOPs were followed by the team during the burial process, however, the “disrespectful handling of the bodies while being lowered on to the ground by the field staff” led to the entire field team involved being disbanded and will be replaced by a new team trained by the HOD, Forensic, VIMS.
The district administration also issued an unconditional apology to the families of the deceased and to others who were hurt by the incident.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa also termed the behaviour of the staff “very inhuman and very painful” and urged the staff to tread cautiously with humanity in handling the funeral of those affected by the disease, and added, “Let`s walk with humanity, and realize that there is no greater religion than humanity.”
(With ANI inputs)