Nellore municipal staff use earthmover for mass burial of Covid-19 victims, govt orders probe
In a video, the earthmover was seen carrying the bodies to a grave a few metres away and dumping all of them into the pit which had already been dug.Updated: Jul 10, 2020 19:58 IST
The Nellore district administration on Friday ordered a probe into the incident of local municipal staff resorting to mass burial of three bodies of Covid-19 victims by carrying them in an earthmover and dumping them in a grave, at a place adjacent to Penna river.
A video, apparently shot at night by a person passing by on the highway adjacent to the river, showing some people wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) taking out three bodies from an ambulance one after the other and dumping them in the front portion of the earthmover has gone viral.
In another video, the earthmover was seen carrying the bodies to a grave a few metres away and dumping all of them into the pit which was already dug.
As the videos went viral on social media and were played up on local television channels, the chief minister’s office ordered the Nellore district administration to conduct an inquiry.
“A detailed probe has been ordered into the burial of the dead bodies of Covid-19 patients near Penna river. Nellore revenue divisional officer Hussian Saheb has been appointed as special officer and will conduct the enquiry,” an official statement from the CMO said.
Hussain Saheb, who is also a sub-divisional magistrate, said he would submit a report to the district collector after conducting an inquiry into the incident.
The opposition Telugu Desam Party found fault with the Nellore municipal authorities for their inhuman treatment of the bodies of Covid-19 patients. “Pained to see bodies of Covid-19 patients in Nellore being disrespectfully thrown into a single pit using an earthmover. This is happening time & again. @ysjagan Govt must offer an apology to the grieving families who wished for a respectful departure for their loved ones,” TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu tweeted.
This is the third such incident in Andhra Pradesh in the recent past. On July 6, municipal authorities in Tirupati also used an earthmover to lift the body of a Covid-19 victim from an ambulance and dump it into a grave.
Tirupati municipal commissioner P S Girisha admitted that the municipal staff should not have done that but said they had no option but to use the excavator to lift the body which was weighing about 175 kg only after taking the consent of the family members.
On June 26, the municipal staff in Palasa town in Srikakulam district also used an earthmover to carry the body of a Covid-19 victim from his house to the graveyard for cremation, after the victim’s relatives refused to perform last rites. Following instructions from chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the district authorities suspended six municipal employees for using an earthmover to carry the body.