The Gujarat government on Thursday ordered an inquiry into an incident in which four dead bodies, wrapped in plastic sheets, were found lying in a hearse van outside a crematorium in the state capital Gandhinagar. Officials said that the van was meant for carrying only two bodies but two more bodies were found to be dumped in the van waiting for the cremation of bodies.
The development came hours after a video of the dead bodies lying in the van was widely circulated. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who is also the health minister, ordered Principal Secretary, Health, Jayanti Ravi and Health Commissioner Jayprakash Shivhare to probe the people responsible for meting out "inhuman treatment" to the deceased.
Officials said that the four patients, who were infected with coronavirus and had comorbid conditions, had died between November 24 and November 25. Because of the comorbid conditions, their deaths were recorded in the list of people dying due to the coronavirus infection. Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya confirmed this to DH and said that consent was taken from the relatives of the deceased but such treatment to the departed soul was disrespectful and was being looked into.
Officials said that one of the incinerators of the crematorium at Sector 30 was not functional due to which there was a queue and it was then that "someone clicked the photo and circulated it."
One of the relatives of the deceased, Rajnikant Solanki, said in a video message, "My father was infected with coronavirus and died yesterday. He was taken in the van along with three other dead bodies. I was shocked and therefore couldn't react. But, I was surprised to see that not a single case of coronavirus was reported from Gandhinagar the next day."
Meanwhile, the state reported 1,560 new cases on Thursday, the highest single-day spike so far and 16 more deaths.