Several reports showed Covid-19 patients in Mewla Gopalgarh village lying under a neem tree as they struggled to find hospital beds.
The police in Uttar Pradesh have filed a first information report against the former head of a village for allegedly giving false statements to the media about the coronavirus and spreading rumours to tarnish the government’s image, The Times of India reported on Wednesday.
The Times of India and The Wire had reported on how Covid-19 patients in Mewla Gopalgarh village lay on cots under a neem tree, with glucose drips hanging from the branches. They had struggled to find hospital beds and believed that being under the tree would help raise their oxygen levels.
Yogesh Talan, the former village head, had told The Wire that a huge number of residents had been unwell since the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh last month “[There is] not a single house where nobody is experiencing cough or fever,” he was quoted as saying by the website. “The administration has failed terribly on two fronts, testing and providing medical facilities to the sick. People are feeling helpless in this village.”
Talan said that hospitals were refusing to admit even patients with severe symptoms.
However, the administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar, under whose jurisdiction the village is, claimed that it had organised two coronavirus testing camps in the village from May 13, according to The Times of India. Officials alleged that Talan did not disclose correct information about the drive to the villagers.
Another resident of the village, 65-year-old Harveer Talan, is under the administration’s scanner. He was accused of refusing admission to a Covid-care facility even as a bed was confirmed for him, and the administration claimed he had been consulting quacks.
Officials also alleged that Yogesh Talan had brainwashed Harveer Talan and convinced his family not to send him to a hospital even as his oxygen saturation levels fell.
The police charged Yogesh Talan under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant), 269 and 270 (act which is likely to spread the infection) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, according to The Times of India. Harveer Talan was not named as an accused in the complaint, which was filed by the primary health centre in Jewar.
Several reports have emerged about the crumbling healthcare system in Uttar Pradesh, amid the massive second wave of the coronavirus in the country.
On Monday, the Allahabad High Court criticised the condition of the medical system in small towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh, saying that it was at the mercy of God.
Also, over the last few weeks, thousands of corpses of suspected coronavirus patients have been spotted either floating in the Ganga river or buried along river banks in the state, as well as in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Despite criticism of his government’s management of the health crisis, UP Chief Minister Adityanath on Sunday claimed that the state was prepared to tackle the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic “as and when it comes”.
The state government had earlier threatened legal action against those “spreading rumours” about its Covid mismanagement and has filed cases in some instances.