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Video of disposal of 14 decomposing bodies goes viral

Soumyadeep Sarkar

Decomposing bodies

A video clip claimed to show decomposed bodies being disposed of NRS morgue and that these are bodies of Covid patients being disposed of furtively has gone viral in hours, as it garnered the attention of both the administration and citizens alike.

The scene of 14 unidentified decomposed bodies being disposed of caused much excitement among eye-witnesses, which turned into an uproar on social media. Later, it was revealed that the Principal of the state-run NRS Medical College wrote to the Kolkata Police Commissioner, saying that none of those bodies were of Covid-19 patients, and that “14 unclaimed bodies were being handed over to the KMC authority as per list given by different Police Stations of our Morgue's jurisdiction.”

The video of the decomposed bodies being dragged into a van of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) van in broad daylight under Basdroni Police Station created an uproar, and it was alleged that the video was shot outside the Garia Crematorium where locals reportedly objected on the cremation of several decomposed bodies.

Joint CP (Crime) Murali Dhar said that they had received a letter from the Health Department where it was informed that the bodies were unidentified/unclaimed bodies. “Hospital, as per protocol, sends such bodies for cremation after a period of 15 days if no claimant comes forward," he said. The Kolkata Police confirmed in a tweet that the bodied were not that of Covid-19 patients, and legal steps will be taken against the persons spreading fake news.

To date, unclaimed bodies have been cremated in Dhapa. But since that is being used for COVID fatalities, crematoriums in Kalighat, Garia is being used for unclaimed bodies. In an order dated May 29, the Kolkata Municipality issued directives to cremate unclaimed dead bodies in Garia Adi Mahasasan furnace number 4, while Dhapa will be exclusively used for cremating Covid-19 Hindu corpses.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar tweeted "Anguished at disposal of dead bodies with heartless indescribable insensitivity. Not sharing videos due to sensitivity. In our society, the dead body is accorded highest respect - rituals are performed as per tradition."

The governor later demanded a transparent disclosure from chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the details of the dead bodies such as their admission date, hospital, cause of death, and bed head ticket, lamenting the manner in which dead bodies were "uncouthly dragged".

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