In Chhattisgarh's Balrampur, a 45-year-old woman with coronavirus symptoms died on the road after the police allegedly refused to heed her husband's pleas to let them cross the district border even when the man showed them prescriptions and a hospital slip. The police said they have received a complaint in the matter, but refuted the claim.
The Balrampur district collector Rambir Sharma has also ordered an inquiry clarifying that one does not need permission to cross district borders for medical emergencies.
The woman, Bihani Devi, had been suffering from high fever, cough and cold for a week. Her husband, Ramadhar Panika, had hired a vehicle for the 100km journey to the Ambikapur District Hospital, but the couple was stopped at the Balrampur-Surajpur district border checkpoint and told to go back.
The woman died within the next 30 minutes, just 10 km from her village Gaina in Balrampur.
"The driver of the hired vehicle forced me to get out with the body. I told him I would pay extra to take us to the village but he refused," Mr Panika told NDTV, adding that he had to hire a tractor for the commute and waited with his wife's body by the side of the road for an hour.
Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kukreja verified that there is a checkpoint at the Balrampur-Surajpur district border because the district was under lockdown and four containment zones have been created after some cases of coronavirus surfaced.
"Police personnel and officers of the health and the administration are posted at the check point. The medical officer present at the checkpoint said no such case was reported... If the woman was unwell, the health department officers could have examined her; the couple could have shown them the prescriptions. We are investigating the matter. If anyone is found guilty we will take strict action against them," he said.
A nasal swab was collected from the body to check if the woman had contracted COVID-19.