Officials in the Indian state of Karnataka, in southern India, apologized after filming showing officers evicting bodies of victims of Covid -19 caused outrage.
Videos posted on social media showed workers in PPE kits throwing bodies wrapped in black garbage bags into deep wells.
Officials in the state’s Bellary district confirmed the footage was genuine and apologized to the families.
The bodies were of eight people who died from Covid – 19 days earlier.
Karnataka has seen more than 246 deaths due to Covid. However, it was recognized as one of the states that has been most successful in tracking and containing the disease.
“We have issued a letter of unconditional apology to the families of the dead. We are very hurt by this and we are sorry. We condemn the way the corpses were treated. They should have been treated more humanely,” said SS Nakula senior district official said to Imran Qureshi, BBC Hindi.
“They followed all the protocols. Where they went wrong is not the part of the protocol, but the mentality that a dead body should be treated with dignity,” he added.
He said the men in the video were removed, adding that they would be replaced by a new team that would dispose of the bodies “with sensitivity”.
There has been a lot of fear and stigma around Covid-19 in India. People who contract the disease are stigmatized and avoided, while their bodies are often discarded, as health professionals are afraid to touch them.
With almost 600,000 confirmed cases, India has the fourth highest number of Covid infections in the world.