"2 Slaps," Says Minister As Man Seeking Oxygen Slams, Abuses Hospital

The minister's office said he had tried to stop the man from making abusive comments at doctors and nurses.

New Delhi:

Union Minister Prahlad Patel was on camera today saying he would slap a man who was heard using expletives while complaining about the lack of oxygen for his Covid positive relative.

The minister's office said he had tried to stop the man from making abusive comments at doctors and nurses.

In a video shared online, a man says: "They (hospital) is making a c****** out of us (they are trying to cheat us). It has been 36 hours. We are so desperate...They said they will give cylinders but we did not get cylinders...Why don't they just tell us we can't give you oxygen."

The minister was standing before the man as he complained outside a hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh.

Prahlad Patel is the BJP Lok Sabha MP from Damoh.

"Aise bolega toh do khayega (If you talk like this you will get two slaps)," Mr Patel snaps in the video.

The minister says: "Did anyone deny you an oxygen cylinder?" The man replies, "Yes, they refused. We only got one for five minutes. It's better that you outright say no."

Mr Patel's office said far from threatening the man, as was reported initially after a shorter version of the video emerged, he was reprimanding him for using expletives.

The incident took place outside the Damoh district hospital, a dedicated Covid facility where relatives of patients had looted oxygen cylinders on Tuesday. Visuals had shown angry relatives snatching cylinders and ransacking an oxygen storeroom.

In a statement after the incident, the Madhya Pradesh government had claimed that it had surplus oxygen.

Damoh has 3,320 active Covid cases. The number of cases rose by 101 in the last 24 hours.

Madhya Pradesh has enforced restrictions and curfew in several cities as it battles a steep rise in virus cases. For weeks, Damoh was an exception as politicians campaigned in the city for assembly by-polls on April 17, addressing crowded meetings.