How Babul Supriyo’s Careless Tweet Has Threatened the Life of a 24-Yr-Old Who Shot Video in Kolkata Hospital


How Babul Supriyo’s Careless Tweet Has Threatened the Life of a 24-Yr-Old Who Shot Video in Kolkata Hospital

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

A viral video of bodies lying unattended in a Covid-19 ward purportedly shot in Kolkata’s MR Bangur Hospital by a 24-year-old named Somnath Das has become the bane of his existence. As the video spread online, BJP Union Minister Babul Supriyo shared Das’s phone number on Twitter. Since then, he has been receiving threatening calls from strangers and was even forced to spend a night on Kolkata’s streets after not being allowed to enter his apartment, The Print reported.

Das was admitted to the MR Bangur Hospital as a suspected coronavirus case, but tested negative and was discharged on Tuesday. While at the hospital, he witnessed two bodies lying in the isolation ward along with patients. He decided to shoot the video to expose the condition inside the hospital, but he did not intend for the clip to go viral. “…I did not speak a word against the doctor or the sisters treating us. Moreover, I had no clue how this clip reached social media platforms,” Das told  journalist Madhuparna Das.

The man also said that he did not shoot the video on his phone; the device he used was handed to him by another individual in the ward.

But before Somnath Das was discharged on Tuesday, events on Monday evening had already set into motion a chain of events that would make life hell for him. On Monday, within minutes of each other, BJP Member of Parliament from Asansol Babul Supriyo and the official BJP4Bengal Twitter handle had shared the video on social media while Das was still in the hospital.

On Tuesday, Das was discharged. At the same time, with the video he shot going viral on Twitter, Supriyo doubled down by reposting it and demanded answers from West Bengal’s state government.

However, for Das, the worst was yet to come. The next morning, on Wednesday, April 22, Supriyo posted another tweet, one containing a WhatsApp message alleging that Das had been booked by Kolkata Police for shooting the video. The message also contained Das’s personal details, including his phone number.

“People are calling and abusing me. I am being threatened with dire consequences,” Das told The Print. The paranoia of being harmed because he shot the video has Das fearing that the police will arrest him.

However, the Kolkata Police refuted Supriyo’s allegations by Wednesday evening, stating that no FIR had been lodged against the man. They also confirmed that Das was taken back to his apartment while speaking to The Print.

However, even an outright denial of the allegation levelled by Supriyo was not enough, as he retorted with another tweet expressing suspicion about the integrity of Kolkata Police. He also added a follow-up tweet where he said he would like the Kolkata Police to address him as “Honble”, as he is a Union Minister.

For Supriyo, the video shot by Das has been useful as a means of exposing the flaws of his political opponent, the Trinamool Congress government led by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. However, for Das, getting caught in a game of politics between the powers-that-be has proven to be a nightmare.