Speaking exclusively with Republic TV on Wednesday, Union Minister Babul Supriyo linked the West Bengal government's decision to ban mobile phones in COVID-19 hospitals to a video that had exposed the conditions of patients at the MR Bangur hospital in Kolkata. Maintaining that a spy video was acceptable as long as its purpose was good, he noted that the West Bengal government had also not denied the authenticity of the video until now. According to him, banning mobile phones in COVID-19 hospitals proved that the state government is worried about people getting to know the reality of such hospitals.
Babul Supriyo remarked, "Mobile phones being used in COVID hospitals is definitely not healthy. But it shows the apathy with which the COVID hospitals are run where a patient who is calling himself a suspect can actually move around in a ward freely recording a video. We do have precedents where the courts say that if a spy video is meant to do good for society, then it is not a crime to do it. If this is the condition of the COVID-19 hospitals, people are going to be scared to report there. But till now neither did the government come up with a strong statement saying that is a fake video which proves it is not."
He added, "And secondly, the manner in which they have banned mobile phones proves that they are definitely worried that people are recording videos, sending them outside and people are getting to know the conditions of the COVID hospitals. Now, the person who recorded the video- he tested negative and has been taken into police custody. I have asked the government to explain the status of that person."
Speaking to the media, West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha confirmed that mobile phones had been banned in COVID-19 hospitals. He opined that the novel coronavirus spreads through mobile phones. Sinha mentioned that all doctors, medical staff, and patients must deposit their mobile phone outside and collect it while leaving the hospital.
The video in question was shared by Supriyo on Twitter. In the footage, a man is heard making serious allegations about the efforts to contain COVID-19 in the MR Bangur hospital. Supriyo had urged the West Bengal government to conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter.
1/2: This is a shocking video that has emerged frm alleged M.R.Bangur Hospital,Tollygunje, WB•It is shocking in every sense of the term•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 pic.twitter.com/d1Ps5Jb3ar— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) April 20, 2020