The Centre and State are at war in West Bengal after the Union Minister Babul Supriyo tweeted a video a dead patient allegedly lying in the isolation ward in a state-run hospital. While the Trinamool Congress government is questioning its accuracy and asserting the video as an opposition ploy, the Bharatiya Janata Party has raised questions on measures taken by the state government.
In his latest tweet on the matter, Supriyo revealed the identity of the man and identified him as Somnath Das who had shot the video he posted on April 20.
The video is from MR Bangur Hospital in Tollygunje, Kolkata. Somnath Das was admitted to the M.R. Bangur Hospital in Kolkata as a suspected coronavirus case. But Das tested negative and was discharged on Tuesday, April 21.
During his stay, however, he shot a video that showed a couple of dead bodies lying unattended for hours in the COVID-19 ward of the hospital where he had been kept. The video has since gone viral among the netizens.
Supriyo posted the video on Twitter on April 20 claiming that it was in the public domain and urged the ruling Trinamool Congress government to urgently investigate the matter.
"This is a shocking video...Since this VDO is in the public domain, I wud request Honble WBCM @MamataOfficial to conduct a thorough enquiry into it & release the FACTs asap," the minister of state for environment, forest and climate change wrote on the micro-blogging site.
The minister once again took to twitter on Apri 21 and asked why has the West Bengal government verifying the video.
Within hours of Das' video going viral, the state government issued an instruction banning mobile phones in reserved COVID-19 hospitals.
After the Mamata government's move Supriyo once again took to Twitter on April 22 and shared the personal details of Das on Twitter including his phone number.
Following his tweet the 24-year-old faced boycott from people and had to spend a night on the streets of Kolkata after not being allowed into his apartment and "threatened by random people", reported The Print.
"Who gave him (Supriyo) the right to share my details on social media? My privacy has been breached," Das said. "People are calling and abusing me. I am being threatened with dire consequences."
Supriyo also said that Das has been booked, a claim which the Kolkata Police later dismissed and clarified that no such action was initiated by them.
The viral video was shared by senior BJP leaders to target the Mamata Banerjee government. The BJP government at the Centre has also sent two central teams to West Bengal for evaluating the COVID-19 situation in the state and has alleged that the TMC orchestrated cover-up exercise.
The arrival of the two teams in West Bengal without prior information to the State government set off the scuffle between the Centre and the ruling government.
The Union home ministry said the COVID-19 situation is 'especially serious' in Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata and a few other places in West Bengal, and that the violation of lockdown measures risk the spread of the contagious novel coronavirus.
The central government has constituted six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to make an on-spot assessment of the COVID-19 situation in these places.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh came out in support of the Centre and accused TMC government of the lack of efforts to enforce the lockdown, especially in minority-dominated places.
'It is not that the central teams visited only Bengal. None of the states has uttered a single word about it... The Trinamool Congress government has made it a habit to oppose the central government on every issue, even during the time of a crisis,' Ghosh said.
'This is not a political battle; it is a matter of life and death of people. The state government should come clean on the issue and cooperate with the Centre,' he added.
However, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee had expressed strong objections to the visit of central teams and wrote a letter to the Prime Minister calling the development "unilateral".Also Read: No Electricity, Filthy Toilets: Doctors Release Video Of Quarantine Centre In UP