Deputy Commissioner of Ballari SS Nakul on Tuesday (June 30) issued a written apology for the “disrespectful handling” of the bodies of COVID-19 victims, after a video purportedly showing health workers inappropriately burying them in a large pit surfaced, triggering an outrage on social media.
In the video, the workers wearing personal protection equipment, allegedly in Ballari district in Karnataka, 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.
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 press note, Nakul, who is also the District Magistrate of Ballari, said that an enquiry was ordered under Additional Deputy Commissioner and it was found that the video belongs to the said district and “comprises of burial of eight people who succumbed to COVID-19”.
Few videos are circulating in social media showing footage of burial procedures. Enquiry ordered under Add'l Dy Commissioner, Ballari & it was found that the video belongs to Ballari & comprises of burial of 8 ppl who succumbed to #COVID19: Dy Commissioner&DM, Ballari. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/IiYI3DPs0v
— ANI (@ANI) June 30, 2020
He said even as the video shows that the protocols/SOP to be followed for burial were strictly adhered to, the District Administration is “deeply upset” and “sorrowful” at the manner in which the remains of the deceased were handled.
Condoning the incident, he said that the entire field team has been disbanded and will be replaced by a new team trained by the HoD, Forensic, VIMS.
A man who posted the video first on YouTube claimed it happened in Ballari. It went viral on social media drawing widespread condemnation over the manner in which the dead were handled and people demanded stringent action.
Earlier in the day, a top official in the district, the native of state Health minister B Sriramulu, said they were inquiring into it.
“In all, eight bodies were dumped in this fashion in a single pit,” an eye-witness claimed.
The district reported 12 COVID-19 deaths on Monday.
Nakul said five more people succumbed to the coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the total fatalities in the district to 29 so far.
In a similar incident, the body of a 44-year old COVID-19 victim was thrown into a pit in Puducherry earlier this month, triggering public outrage and a few health workers were
(With inputs from agencies)