Amid the increasing havoc of the coronavirus pandemic in India accompanied by a shortage of oxygen cylinders, a teenager lost his mother to COVID-19 just hours after cops allegedly seized an oxygen cylinder that he had privately arranged.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, a youth dressed in PPE is seen on his feet with his hands folded and pleading with the police not to take away the cylinder from him as it will cost his mother's life. "I am at your feet, requesting you. Please save my mother," the boy says amid sobs until he is dragged away by people around him who could be from his family. Meanwhile, policemen watch as the cylinder is carried away by two men.
The clip which was recorded outside the private Upadhyay Hospital in Uttar Pradesh's Agra, was shared on Twitter by a Times of India correspondent, who reported that the incident took place on April 28. The cylinder which the teen had arranged for his mother in critical condition was "reportedly confiscated to supply it for a VIP."
The youth was later identified as Ansh Goyal, 17, who told the outlet that his mother died two hours after the incident with the policemen. "My mother was not able to breathe. We gave her CPR multiple times, but could not save her," he said.
Additional director general of police (ADG) Rajiv Krishna later told the outlet that an inquiry has been ordered into Goyal's allegations and assured that "strict action will be taken against guilty policemen." The inquiry comes soon after local police denied the charges and called the video misleading.
"Two days ago, there was some shortage of oxygen in Agra due to which some people were individually arranging oxygen cylinders on their own, carrying filled cylinder inside and taking out empty cylinders from the hospital. The man was requesting police to provide him with an oxygen cylinder for treatment of his relative. The video is misleading," Superintendent of police (SP) Botre Rohan Pramod said, adding that the cylinders were empty.
Amid the oxygen crisis in the country, people are struggling to find empty cylinders as well, as oxygen refilling facilities are requesting the needy to procure their own cylinders for a refill. Meanwhile, the United States, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain have sent emergency supplies to the country including oxygen generators, face masks, and vaccines.
The past week marked India's deadliest week yet of the pandemic, as the country recorded more than 300k new cases and nearly 23,800 deaths. Daily new cases have witnessed a slight drop after hitting a peak of over 400k on Friday.