KEY POINTS

  • A viral video showed a woman's son on his knees begging Indian police not to take away his mother's oxygen cylinder
  • Uttar Pradesh policemen were accused of taking away the cylinder so that it could be given to a VIP
  • The woman reportedly died of COVID-19 two hours after the incident

Police in India are now investigating allegations of officers forcibly taking away the oxygen cylinder of a COVID-19 patient in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh. The woman reportedly died two hours after the incident.

Upon ordering the investigation, additional director general of police Rajiv Krishna said, "Strict action will be taken against guilty policemen," the Times of India reported.

Footage of the incident uploaded to Twitter last Wednesday showed the woman's 22-year-old son, Anmol Goyal, on his knees in a PPE suit begging and crying in front of Uttar Pradesh police as the officers allegedly took away the tank from his mother. 

"My mother will die if you take away her oxygen cylinder," Goyal says in the video, which has 1.1 million views.

"The only thing that the doctor said would help her - an oxygen cylinder - was taken away from us," the Independent quoted Goyal as saying, citing local media.

His 17-year-old brother, Ansh Goyal, told the Times, "My mother was not able to breathe. We gave her CPR multiple times, but could not save her. She died two hours after the policemen took the cylinder."

Deepak Lavania, the Times of India correspondent who captured and shared the video, alleged that the cylinder was confiscated so that it could be given to a VIP.

"When I asked the ward boys why they were taking away our oxygen cylinder, they told me that they want to save somebody's life. Who is that somebody? And is mother's life not valuable enough?" Goyal said.

Police denied the allegations in a statement and said the cylinder in the video was empty and was being taken away from the hospital for refilling.

"The man was requesting police to provide him with an oxygen cylinder for treatment of his relative," superintendent of police Botre Rohan Pramod said. "No one was taking away the cylinder. The video is misleading."

The incident comes as India is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the country accounting for more than 40% of the world's new infections Sunday. 

oxygen-502887_1920 Representation. The cylinder was allegedly taken away so it could be given to a VIP. Photo: Pixabay