The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday said that the death of COVID-19 patients due to the shortage in medical oxygen supply was "a criminal act." The court compared it to "not less than a genocide" by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply of liquid medical oxygen, reported ANI.

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At least seven COVID-19 patients died last week at hospitals in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut due to oxygen supply shortage, as per several media reports. Last week, several patients at a private hospital in Lucknow died allegedly due to the same reason.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has asserted that there was no oxygen supply shortage and the real problem was black-marketing and hoarding. 

Also read: Video of Agra man begging to cops for oxygen goes viral

"We find these news items showing a quite contrary picture to one claimed by the Government that there was a sufficient supply of oxygen," the High Court observed on Tuesday.

The CM had directed officials to take actions, under the National Security Act, against those who spread "rumours" on social media and try to "spoil the atmosphere." 

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Last week, a UP man, who went on social media to seek an oxygen cylinder for his 88-year-old relative, was booked under the Epidemic Act for creating fear among people. Another man, from Jaunpur, was booked after he allegedly supplied oxygen cylinders to those in need.