Karnataka's Ballari district administration has fired a health department field team for inhumanly handling and ruthlessly dumping eight Covid bodies in a pit, a video of which went viral, an official said on Tuesday.
"The entire field team involved has been disbanded and will be replaced by a new team trained by the head of the department, forensics, VIMS," Ballari Deputy Commissioner S.S. Nakul told IANS.
In the viral video, more than five men were seen mercilessly dumping large black bags containing the bodies into a freshly dug pit.
No relatives of the deceased persons or any final rites were conducted at the deserted pit where some traffic noise and Kannada conversations among the dumpers could be heard.
Wearing full body suits in white and blue, the field team took out one body after another from a vehicle and threw them into the pit.
Another unidentified man, wearing a mask, gloves, white and blue half-sleeved t-shirt, dark trousers and wielding a mobile phone was also seen going to the other side of the pit as the dumping happened.
In the video, three bodies could be counted being dumped into the pit where a JCB excavator was also spotted nearby, which may have been used to dig the pit.
"A few videos have been circulating on social media since this morning, showing footage of burial procedures. It was found that the videos did belong to Ballari and comprised the burial of eight people who passed away after succumbing to Covid," confirmed Nakul.
The Deputy Commissioner said the district administration has been deeply upset and sorrowful over the incident and the manner in which the bodies were handled.
"The district administration condemns the disrespectful handling of the bodies while being lowered on to the ground by the field staff," he said.
Nakul stated that the Ballari district administration unconditionally apologises for the incident to the families of the departed in particular and the district's people in general.
Other than the dumping, he said the videos show that all other medical standard operating procedures have been followed, such as using body bags, lining and others.
On Monday, Ballari witnessed the highest number of Covid deaths in the southern state at six, taking the overall death toll to 29.
In the past 24 hours, 61 people have tested positive for the virus in the district.
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