Kin of a prisoner, who allegedly died of COVID-19 while undergoing treatment at Bir Hospital, have demanded investigation into the death.

Ram Lakhan Jaiwal, 63, of Siddhartha Municipality-5, Rupandehi died at the hospital on Saturday. He had been serving sentence in the central jail for the past eight years after being convicted of a murder. Rashmi Jaiswal, a daughter of the deceased said her father’s body was stained with blood and terms it a ‘murder’.

“There were also bruises and marks elsewhere in the body. It was not a natural death. The authorities are trying to cover up their faults by terming it a death from coronavirus.

Therefore, we demand a fair and thorough investigation into the case,” she said. Shivan Jaiswal, nephew of the deceased accused the prison administration of colluding with the hospital to hide the reality from the public.

Laxmi Baskota, jailer said Ram Lakhan was rushed to the hospital on Saturday after he complained of difficulty in breathing and died within 25 minutes of his admission to the health facility.

The hospital has refused to hand over the body to the family, citing it a COVID-19 death and stating that the body should be disposed of as per the procedures prescribed by the government.

Kin of the deceased staged a protest in front of the hospital throughout the day today, demanding justice. Hospital Director Dr Kedar Senchuri said he was ready to coordinate with the prison administration and police for investigation into the case.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 23, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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