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Bodies of 22 Covid victims in Beed stuffed into single ambulance, taken for cremation, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Aurangabad: Bodies of 22 Covid victims in Beed stuffed into single ambulance, taken for cremationAurangabad: The bodies of 22 patients who died of Covid in Ambajogai, Beed district, were stashed in a single ambulance, some one upon the other, and transported to a crematorium. The incident sparked serious outrage, forcing the Beed district administration to rush a team to Ambajogai, around 220 km from here, to look into the matter.

An eyewitness to the incident alleged that the police present near the ambulance snatched the mobile phones of at least two relatives of the deceased who were filming and clicking pictures of the bodies stuffed in the ambulance. Their phones were returned only after the last rites of the deceased were performed, he said.

Officials said the 22 bodies, placed in body bags, were picked from the mortuary of the Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada Government Medical College (SRTMGMC), Ambajogai, and kept in the ambulance (MH-29/AT-0299). As per hospital records, the ambulance is a mobile ICU.

Authorities said 14 of the 22 deceased had died on Saturday and the rest on Sunday. Nine had died at the Lokhandi Savargaon jumbo Covid centre.

When contacted, Beed district collector Ravindra Jagtap said, “The incident is very unfortunate and I have ordered the Ambajogai additional collector to probe the matter. We will definitely initiate action against anyone found guilty.”

Another eyewitness, Abhijit Jagtap, confirmed to TOI that two relatives who had tried filming the bodies in the ambulance had their mobile phones taken away by the policemen around.

A relative of one of the deceased said he was angry about the way in which the bodies were transported but did not have evidence.

When contacted, SRTMGMC dean Dr Shivaji Sukre said, “There are just two ambulances to carry dead bodies to the crematorium. We have demanded more ambulances. Our responsibility is to hand over bodies to the Ambajogai civic body to perform the last rites. What the civic body does is not in our control.”

Sukre said that as per an arrangement, the civic body collects bodies twice a day for cremation.

Ambajogai municipal council CEO Ashok Sable said, “All bodies from the Lokhandi Savargaon-based dedicated Covid hospital and SRTMGMC are brought to the crematorium. Our squad’s responsibility is to perform the last rites. We neither have an ambulance nor manpower to lift and transport the bodies.”


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