A higher court in India on Monday held the Election Commission responsible for the ferocious second wave of Covid-19 in the country, in a sharp rap on the knuckles for the constitutional body.
The Madras High Court in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu said that top Election Commission officials should be booked for murder for failing to enforce Covid safety protocols during campaigns for assembly elections in five states.
"Your institution is singularly responsible for the second wave of Covid-19. Your officers should be booked on murder charges probably," the court told the Election Commission in the wake of a plea against crowded election campaigns in Tamil Nadu.
"You have failed to enforce Covid safety rules like masks, sanitisers and distancing during campaigning despite court orders. Were you on another planet when the election rallies were held," said a two-judge bench, led by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee.
The court also threatened to halt the counting of votes on May 2 "if a blueprint is not in place by then".
The court's rebuke came on a day when India recorded over 3.52 lakh new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours amid an acute shortage of oxygen in hospitals across the country.
India's total cases and fatalities now stand at 1.73 crore and 1.95 lakh, respectively.
In fact, the oxygen crisis in India, particularly in the national capital, is worsening with each passing day. Hospitals after hospitals in Delhi are sending out SOS messages to health authorities daily, seeking adequate supply of the life-saving gas.
Last week, at least 50 Covid patients on life support died at two leading Delhi hospitals due to oxygen shortage.
Jaipur Golden Hospital, a dedicated Covid medical facility in Delhi, said on Saturday morning that 25 Covid patients died around midnight on Friday due to "low-supply oxygen" to critical patients on ventilator.
"We had been allotted 3.5 metric tonnes of oxygen from the government. The supply was to reach us by 5 in the evening, but it reached around midnight. By then, 25 patients had died," Dr DK Baluja, the hospital's Medical Director had said.
On Friday morning too, another leading hospital in Delhi announced the deaths of 25 patients in 24 hours due to a shortage of oxygen.
In a statement, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had said, "25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Major crisis likely. Lives of another 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention."
It may also be mentioned here that 24 Covid patients on ventilator at a government hospital in the western Indian state of Maharashtra died on Wednesday after their oxygen supply ran out following leakage of the life-supporting gas from a tanker.
The tanker was brought to Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in the state's Nashik district to replenish the oxygen cylinders at the medical facility for continuous supply to the 150-plus Covid-19 patients on life support.
The US, the world's worst-hit country, has, meanwhile, assured India of all assistance, in its hour of crisis.
"Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need," US President Joe Biden has said in a tweet.
Source: United News of Bangladesh