Authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district have booked a relative of a patient of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) who dumped his body in a river after he died earlier this week, a senior medical officer said on Sunday. They initiated an investigation after a video of the body being thrown in the river surfaced.
Chief minister officer (CMO) Dr Vijay Bahadur Singh said after the video went viral they found in their probe that Premnath Mishra, a resident of Sidharthnagar, was admitted to a hospital on May 25 and died on May 28. “The body was handed over to his relatives following all Covid protocols and his relatives took it at the crematorium. Prima facie, according to the video, it seems that the body was thrown into the river by his relatives,” Singh said in a video tweeted by Balrampur Police.
Singh added that a case has been registered and action is being taken against the people seen in the video, which has been shared widely on social media. In the now viral video, shot by passers by in a car, shows two men with the body in pouring rain. The men, one of them in a PPE suit, are seen lifting the body on to the edge of the bridge over River Rapti in the 45-second clip.
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According to Hindustan, HT’s sister publication, the case has been registered against Sanjay Shukla from Mankaura Kashiram and another person under the Pandemic Act and Disaster Management Act late on Saturday. Hindustan reported citing Dr AP Mishra, the nodal officer of the hospital where Mishra was admitted, that Shukla took the body on Saturday afternoon. Dr Mishra said Shukla asked for an ambulance to carry the body up to the crematorium near Rapti River, according to Hindustan.
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Earlier this month, hundreds of bodies washed up on the banks of the Ganga and thousands of other bodies were also found buried in shallow graves on the sandbanks of in parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Many of these bodies were suspected to be of people who had died of Covid-19, and whose family members didn’t have the money to cremate them. Photos and videos of these shallow graves went viral on social media and made international headlines.