A video showing dead bodies being dragged and loaded into a van by the civic body for cremation in West Bengal is going viral on social media.
It is being claimed that the bodies were of COVID-19 patients. The viral video invoked the public outrage on the alleged inconsiderate handling of the dead bodies by the Bengal government.
The caption suggests that the bodies of COVID-19 patients were bought at Garia, Kolkata crematorium ground but the local people protested fearing the spread of infections, thus these bodies were being taken somewhere else.
Here’s the link to the archived post.
NewsMobile fact-checked the above video and found the claim to be misleading.
The West Bengal Health department and Kolkata Police department had clarified that these were mere rumors and the dead bodies being dragged were of unclaimed, unidentified bodies and not of COVID-19 patients.
An article by Times Now, dated June 11, 2020, mentions a letter written by NRS Medical College Principal to the Kolkata Police Commissioner. In the letter, he had mentioned the viral video showing the bodies being disposed of is from NRS medical morgue and none of these dead bodies were of COVID patients. The principal has asked the commissioner to take necessary actions against the video.
Clarifying the same, Kolkata Police Department posted an official tweet saying, “West Bengal Health Department has informed that dead bodies were not of COVID patients, but were unclaimed/ unidentified bodies from Hospital Morgue. Legal action is being taken against persons spreading.”
West Bengal Health Department has informed that dead bodies were not of COVID patients, but were unclaimed/ unidentified bodies from Hospital Morgue. Legal action is being taken against persons spreading #FakeNews pic.twitter.com/ENcmUEgY3m
— Kolkata Police (@KolkataPolice) June 11, 2020
However, the emergence of the video sparked controversy over the manner in which the bodies were being loaded.
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar criticized the Govt over the video and sought a report on the issue from the home secretary of the state. He tweeted, “Anguished! Share public outrage and deep concern at most unconscionable heart-rendering callous dragging of dead bodies reflected in videos. Shocked at state of affairs @MamataOfficial. Have sought urgent briefing today from KMC Chairperson and Municipal Commissioner.”
Anguished ! Share public outrage and deep concern at most unconscionable heart rendering callous dragging of dead bodies reflected in videos. Shocked at state of affairs @MamataOfficial
Have sought urgent briefing today from KMC Chairperson and Municipal Commissioner. (1/2)
— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) June 12, 2020
In another tweet, posted two hours late, he said, “Response from Home Secretary has come. Virtual admission about callous handling of dead bodies promising procedure will be streamlined. Rather than booking those responsible for such inhuman criminality, police is being misused to ‘teach a lesson’ to those who exposed it.”
Even though the matter has now taken a political turn, the above information establishes that the bodies in the video were not of COVID-19 patients.
Based on our investigation, we can conclude that these claims are misleading.
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