A video, which went viral over social media, shows municipal workers taking out dead bodies from an ambulance and throwing them on the front portion of a JCB. The bodies were then dumped into a pit in Penna river.
With the incident caught on camera causing a public outrage, Nellore district collector M.V. Sheshagiri Babu on Friday ordered a probe.
Nellore Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Hussian Saheb has been appointed as the special officer to conduct the inquiry.
“A video of the burial of those who died of Covid-19 in Nellore district is going viral. The district collector has ordered an inquiry. As Nellore RDO and sub-divisional magistrate, I have been appointed as the investigation officer. I am conducting an inquiry and after completion of the same will submit my report to the collector,” Hussain Saheb said.
Leader of opposition and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu tweeted on Friday that he was pained to see bodies of Covid-19 victims in Nellore being disrespectfully thrown into a single pit using an earthmover. “This is happening time & again. Y.S. Jagan government must offer an apology to the grieving families who wished for a respectful departure for their loved ones,” tweeted the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief.
This is the third such incident in the state in two weeks. On July 6, municipal authorities in Tirupati used a JCB excavator to lift the body of a COVID victim from an ambulance and dump it into a pit.
Health workers pushed the body onto the excavator, which carried it to a pit and dumped the body in it. The municipal authorities defended the move saying the body weighed nearly 180 kgs.
Tirupati Municipal Commissioner P.S. Girisha said they had to bury the body as the attempt by the municipal staff to cremate it had failed.
In a similar incident in Palasa town of Srikakulam district on June 26, body of a Covid victim was shifted from his house to the cremation ground on a JCB excavator. In another incident in the same district, Covid victim’s body was transported in a tractor.
Taking a serious note of the incidents, the government has suspended six officials.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had expressed anguish for the inhuman act of transporting the mortal remains of Covid-19 patient through JCB excavator and ordered the immediate suspension of the officials.