Agra Additional Director General of Police Rajiv Krishna has ordered an inquiry into allegations that a group of police officers forcibly took away an oxygen cylinder from a boy who had arranged it for his mother, a critical Covid-19 patient, The Times of India reported on Friday.

A video of the 17-year-old boy, Anshu Goyal, was widely shared on social media in which he can be seen on his knees, crying and pleading with the police to give him back the cylinder as his mother would die without oxygen. Goyal’s mother was admitted to a private hospital and died two hours later.

Krishna said that strict action will be taken against the guilty police officers. The incident reportedly took place outside the Upadhyay Hospital in Agra, reported NDTV.

Goyal told The Times of India that the police took away the oxygen cylinder despite his pleas. His family has alleged that the oxygen cylinder was given to a “VIP”.

After the video surfaced on social media, the police had claimed the cylinder was empty. “The man was requesting the police to provide him with an oxygen cylinder for treatment of his relative,” Superintendent of Police Botre Rohan Pramod claimed. “No one was taking away any cylinder. The video is misleading.”

As coronavirus cases surge at an alarming rate, there is an acute shortage of medical oxygen and tanks. Patients are struggling to get access to medicines and ventilators, and many have taken to social media for help or to express their grievances. Hospitals are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds and have even gone to court to desperately plead for more oxygen supplies.

Earlier this week, the Uttar Pradesh police had filed a criminal case against a man who used Twitter to appeal for an oxygen cylinder for his grandfather. Though the man had not mentioned if his grandfather had the coronavirus, the police filed a first information reports against him for allegedly circulating a rumour with the intent to cause fear or alarm.

Amid these cases, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has proclaimed that there was no shortage of medical oxygen in the state.

Meanwhile, India on Friday registered 3,86,452 coronavirus cases, pushing the overall count of infections to 1,87,62,976 since the pandemic first broke out in India in January 2020. This is the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far, and the ninth consecutive day when India has recorded more than 3 lakh cases.

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