‘Search your soul’: Bengal Governor on video of mistreatment of decomposed bodies
The West Bengal BJP claimed the body was of a Covid-19 patient. Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, however, said it was unclaimed and had been lying in a government hospital morgue.Updated: Jun 12, 2020 16:21 IST
The issue of decomposed body, allegedly of a Covid-19 patient, being mistreated in West Bengal has brought the ruling Trinamool Congress in the crosshairs of the Opposition and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Dhankar accused the government of not showing respect to the dead.
“Anguished at disposal of dead bodies @MamataOfficial -with heartless indescribable insensitivity. Not sharing videos due to sensitivity. Have sought an URGENT UPDATE @HomeSecretaryWB. In our society dead body is accorded highest respect-rituals r performed as per tradition,” Dhankhar said in one of the tweets on Thursday.
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The video which surfaced on social media on Thursday showed a morgue employee dragging the body by the neck with tongs at a crematorium in Kolkata. The employee could be further seen putting the body inside a van.
Local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers made claims before the media that the van carried several decomposed corpses and the stench was unbearable. They also said that they objected to the cremation and made several videos.
The BJP and Communist Party of India (Marxist) claimed that the corpses could be those of Covid-19 victims.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the health department, however, produced records which showed that unclaimed bodies lying at hospital morgues were supposed to be cremated at the Garia crematorium since the Dhapa dumping ground, where such unclaimed bodies are cremated round the year, has been reserved for Hindus dying of Covid-19. An order to this effect was passed by KMC’s chief health officer on May 29. HT has seen the documents.
But West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged the corpses were of Covid-19 patients. “The government tried to hide the truth. Apparently, the bodies were burnt with acid,” Ghosh claimed.
“We want to know the identity and addresses of these dead people,” said CPI(M) legislator Sujan Chakraborty. He even wrote a letter to Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim.
Hakim said that the corpses were unclaimed and had been lying in a government hospital morgue. “The KMC issued an order on May 29, saying unclaimed bodies would be cremated at the Garia crematorium and the Dhapa crematorium used exclusively for corpses of Hindu victims of Covid-19,” said Hakim.
Professor Saibal Mukherjee, principal, NRS Medical College and Hospital, wrote a letter to Kolkata Police Commissioner Anuj Sharma on Thursday evening. He said the bodies were related to cases registered in different police stations and none of these people were Covid-19 patients. “The subject of the video is fake and you may please take necessary action in this regard,” Prof Mukherjee wrote to Sharma.
The controversy, however, continued on Friday.
“Issue is not whether the dead bodies were Covid ones! That is matter of probe. Issue-How human bodies can be so shamelessly dragged! Being treated worse than animals. To those engaging in diversion - Search your soul and conscience and imagine dead body was related to you!” Dhankhar tweeted on Friday morning.
“Response @HomeSecretaryWB has come. Virtual admission about callous handling of dead bodies promising procedure will be stream lined. Rather than booking those responsible for such inhuman criminality, police is being misused to ‘teach a lesson’ to those who exposed it,” the governor said in another tweet.