After the rampant prevalence of coronavirus cases among the Maharashtra Police personnel came to the fore, shocking revelations about the administration’s apathy towards the front-line coronavirus warriors have been made by a journalist working with the Maharashtra Times.
Vijay Chormare, the Maharashtra Times journalist, took to Facebook to make disturbing allegations about the mistreatment meted out to a Mumbai Police official Amol Kulkarni who was posted in Shahunagar, Dharavi, to contain the meteoric rise of positive coronavirus cases in the region.
According to Chormare, while discharging his duties to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Kulkarni, unfortunately, contracted the contagion himself and was advised home quarantine. Chormare alleges that when Kulkarni’s condition deteriorated, no government ambulance came when they called helpline number 108. Furthermore, Kulkarni’s colleagues, police officers themselves, also failed in getting any ambulance to transfer their friend to a hospital. As a result, Kulkarni was made to wait for about half an hour before which a private ambulance took him to hospital.
However, as per Chormare’s account, the delay of precious few minutes proved fatal for Kulkarni as the assistant police inspector’s health steadily deteriorated to the point of no return and the subsequent morning he was declared dead by the hospital authorities.
Since Kulkarni had tested positive for COVID-19, his body was quickly washed and packed in a body bag. However, instead of mentioning COVID-19 as the cause of the death on his death certificate, the hospital authorities mentioned high blood pressure and diabetes as the probable cause of death. When Kulkarni’s friends discovered this, they insisted the hospital authorities to change the cause of death to COVID-19 but they did not heed them. Kulkarni being hHis friends then sought help from Shirala MLA Mansingh Fattesingh Rao Naik who in turn sought Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s intervention to get the certificate updated with COVID-19 as the cause of death.
Kulkarni is survived by his wife and a young daughter. They have been tested for coronavirus and the test results are awaited. They are currently home quarantined.
Owing to the coronavirus lockdown, none of Kulkarni’s relatives from his village could attend his funeral which was carried out by the municipal corporation. Amol’s best friend gave his last salutes to the fallen soldier.
Even the senior police officials under whom Kulkarni served did not visit him in the hospital. They along with the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh visited police station where they paid their tributes to the assistant police inspector.
However, the entire episode betrays the deplorable state of the administration and the inefficiency of the government machinery in dealing with the coronavirus crisis in the state. When the state administration cannot ensure proper treatment to their front line officials who are infected by the contagion, it is beyond imagination how the state must be dealing with thousands of citizens suffering from the virus.
“Friends, this is the story of a small cog in a big wheel. Amol was a part of a larger system meant to keep the citizens safe and provide assistance to them when they contract the intractable contagion. Glorifying front-line warriors as “Covid Warriors” makes no sense when they are not extended the required help and support that they need. This sordid tale is a representative picture of how the state administration treats its Covid warriors, ” Chormare said.
He further continued, “This is how a police officer suffering from COVID-19 was treated by the administration. When an employee of the state administration is treated with such apathy, how would the common man be treated by such an administration? It is therefore not uncommon for people to run away to their native places with bags on their backs under the scorching sun. Now, you decide will you ask your loved ones to stay in Mumbai and await their fate or ask them to return to their villages?”