Allahabad HC says ‘criminal act, not less than genocide’ on deaths due to no supply of oxygen

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The Allahabad high court on Tuesday made a strong statement about the country’s dire coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation, saying that the deaths of Covid-19 patients due to a lack of oxygen amounts to nothing less than a “criminal act” — a “genocide” — on the part of those entrusted with ensuring such supplies.

The court examined evidence of a medical oxygen shortage caused by an increase in Covid-19 infections. It illustrated stories that went viral on social media of helpless people pleading for an oxygen cylinder to save the lives of their loved ones, both at the district and police administration levels.

The bench also witnessed widespread hoarding of oxygen cylinders and intimidation of people in desperate need.

“We are at pain in observing that the 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 and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen,” reads an order issued by Justice Ajit Kumar and Justice Siddhartha Varma of the Allahabad High Court.

The court further 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 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.” 

According to the high court, the current state of affairs regarding the management of a government-created online portal casts a shadow on the management of the Covid-19 hospital.

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