Amidst the rising cases of Coronavirus in the country, several NGOs have come forward to help needy citizens with the supply of free medical oxygen cylinders. One such non-governmental organization has been the Hemkunt Foundation, which has supplied more than 1000 cylinders so far at a nominal, refundable security deposit of ₹10,000.
Despite its best efforts to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of liquid oxygen, the foundation has alleged that they are being harassed by the Rajasthan Police. “Our driver and truck of cylinders have been detained at Bhiwadi Police Station meanwhile critical patients are waiting at our Drive-Thru in Gurgaon,” it said in a tweet yesterday.
🚨Our driver and truck of cylinders has been detained at Bhiwadi Police Station meanwhile critical patients are waiting at our Drive Thru in Gurgaon @PoliceRajasthan @Bhiwadipolice #Covid19India #CovidIndiaInfo pic.twitter.com/O69IONmSww— Hemkunt Foundation (@Hemkunt_Fdn) April 25, 2021
In another tweet, the NGO informed that while critical Coronavirus patients had been desperately waiting for oxygen cylinders and had run out of resources. “Police have stopped all trucks. We can’t do anything about it,” lamented a man in the background.
We have officially run out of Oxygen now- despite having all the resources pic.twitter.com/k4KQ9aQw4d— Hemkunt Foundation (@Hemkunt_Fdn) April 25, 2021
Rajasthan police responds to the controversy
Following outrage on social media, the Rajasthan police intervened and directed the Bhiwadi police branch to look into the matter urgently. “Still waiting,” responded Hemkunt Foundation.
The Rajasthan police Help Desk directed the Inspector General of police post an update about the matter. In response, the Twitter handle of IGP Jaipur informed, “According to the information received from Bhiwadi police, a pickup vehicle was found parked in Ghatal village. A total of 5 empty oxygen cylinders were found in the car. On not receiving a satisfactory answer from the driver of the vehicle, he was brought to the police station and released after interrogation at 2:56 am in the night.”
Citing cases of black marketing of oxygen cylinders, Bhiwadi police justified their action against Hemkunt Foundation. While conveniently ignoring the fact that the police high-handedness led to delay in supply of medical oxygen to critical Coronavirus patients, it said, “Keeping in mind the cases of black marketing of oxygen cylinders, the driver was called to the police station on not receiving a satisfactory answer. He was allowed to go at 2:56 am and the vehicle was permitted to go.”
Vehicles have been released. You may verify and confirm.— Arun Bothra (@arunbothra) April 25, 2021
The development was also confirmed by IPS Arun Bothra. He tweeted, “Vehicles have been released. You may verify and confirm.”