Hyderabad: As the COVID positive Ashok Sharma's body engulfed the flames of his deathbed at ESI Crematorium in Hyderabad, his brother, Gopal, was exasperated by the treatment that was being given to patients around him.
The Erragadda crematorium, popularly known as the ESI crematorium, came into light again due to a video that went viral on July 27th. Filmed by Telangana High Court advocate Gopal Sharma, it showed 10 COVID bodies, including his brother Ashok's, being cremated at the same time.
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This comes after another controversial video that had gone viral on 23rd July that showed 50 COVID bodies being cremated at the same spot.
Speaking to Newsmeter Mr Gopal Sharma said, "I was baffled to see 10 other bodies on fire around us, all covered in plastic." He filmed the video on 27th July afternoon, a few hours after his brother had succumbed to COVID.
Ashok Sharma was admitted to Sunshine Hospital, Gachibowli, on Sunday, 19th July, where he tested positive for coronavirus. "While we had doctors attending him for the first two days, it gradually decreased and he was soon left unattended at the hospital," alleged Mr Gopal.
He further said that his brother called him up several times to complain about the same, and informed him that he was feeling breathless and dizzy.
"He spoke to me on 26th July evening and said that apart from a few odd nurses, no doctor was attending him," he said. Mr Ashok succumbed to the virus in the wee hours of 27th July.
Mr Gopal explained that throughout the period when his brother was at the hospital, he attempted to contact several higher-ups in the medical field, but there was not much response. "I spoke to a few doctors who are familiar with staffers at the Sunshine Hospital, but they denied any allegations and said that my brother was being looked after well," he commented.
Mr Ashok's son and wife were also tested positive for COVID-19 soon after, and so they were unable to attend to his deceased body. Mr Gopal, upon receiving the news, rushed to the hospital.
Talking about how he landed up at the ESI crematorium, the advocate said, "I called higher-ups at the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation who told me that they are not performing COVID-19 funerals anymore. They gave me the number of a private contractor who has been put in charge by the municipal body to attend COVID funerals."
Mr Gopal was offered aid by the private contractor, who then helped them cremate his brother's body. Mr Gopal said that he was demanded a sum of Rs 25,000.
In previous encounters with family members of deceased COVID patients who have also cremated their relatives at the ESI crematorium, this correspondent was informed that bodies are usually put to ash on a "death package" of the same amount.
The advocate further added that when they took his brother to the crematorium in the private ambulance, they saw 10 other bodies being burnt.
The supervisor of the crematorium informed the advocate that they've been cremating 50-60 bodies every day, out of which only 10 are regular deaths. "I was informed that the staff there cremates 50 bodies daily that are wrapped in plastic covers," he said, adding that patient's families are usually accompanied by a police personnel who hinders them from filming mass cremations.
"I recall seeing the video of 50 bodies being burnt at the same spot, and was baffled by the fact that there has been no interruption by the government since then," he commented.
Also read: Viral video shows mass cremations of COVID bodies at ESI in Hyderabad