Where is Narender? Mystery surrounds disappearance of Hyd man from a COVID-19 ward

Eighteen days after suspected COVID-19 patient from Gandhi hospital outpatient ward went missing, police and the family version of events don’t match.
Narender Singh
Narender Singh
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It has been eighteen days since Narender Singh, admitted to the outpatient ward of Gandhi hospital went missing in Hyderabad. The 39-year-old went missing on May 31 from Gandhi hospital, the nodal hospital for COVID-19 treatment in the state. Narender was brought to Gandhi hospital for COVID-19 testing, now his family is desperate to find him. The Hyderabad police have been unable to trace the missing man despite their access to a vast pool of CCTV cameras across the city.

According to the family, Narender on May 30 early morning developed breathing difficulty, a cold and slight fever, “We tried to take him to different hospitals but no one would accept him. We didnt want him admitted at Gandhi but still we did as no other hospital was admitting him,” says Mukesh Singh, brother of the missing man. Narender was tested negative at King Koti hospital but was taken to Gandhi hospital for a second test the same day. Mukesh last spoke to Narender on May 31 morning, “He was still at the hospital at the time, another relative also called and spoke to him shortly after,” he adds.

Since that morning Narendar’s phone has been switched off and that has been the status for the past eighteen days. A missing person complaint was registered on June 6 at Mangalghat police station. On June 17 the police told the family that Narender left the hospital premises on May 30 night after getting tested. The family insists that Narender was at the Gandhi hospital even on May 31 morning.

“Who do I believe? The police who say my brother left on May 30 night or my brother who said he was at the hospital on May 31 morning?” asks an angry Mukesh, “I don’t blame the police officer for not being able to find my brother, he is trying his best. It was the state government that took my brother in an ambulance from King Koti hospital to Gandhi, then don’t they think it’s their responsibility to drop him back to us?”

Mukesh’s spouse, who did wish to be named said, "Each time we step out people are pointing fingers and treating us as if we have the disease. If we have COVID-19 then after all these days wouldn’t the municipality put containment stickers in front of our house? The state government should have dropped him back if he left Gandhi hospital like how the police officer told us,”

Speaking to TNM, the Mangalghat police Station House Inspector, G Ranaveer Reddy said, “There are no updates on this case,”. The officer did not respond to any further queries.

“Each time I think about him, I feel like crying,” says Mukesh Singh, “He used to take care of both my parents and remained unmarried for this," he adds.

Speaking to TNM on the condition of anonymity a junior resident doctor working at the COVID-19 ward said, “Don’t recall seeing him while doing the rounds. It’s highly unlikely that someone who was brought in to outpatient and admitted for testing goes missing. There will be medical records and details of entry at the outpatient ward. It's also not possible to leave the hospital gates without a discharge slip,” says the doctor.

Speaking to TNM earlier the inspector had said that the CCTV camera inside and outside the hospital was not working which had made it difficult to trace Narender.

The Gandhi hospital superintendent was unavailable for comment.

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