Gorakhpur hospital horror continues: 42 kids die in last 48 hours

August 30 2017

The horror of deaths of children at Gorakhpur's BRD Medical College continues unabated, with as many as 42 kids dying in the last 48 hours, taking the count of children's deaths in the city so far to 60.

While 7 children are learnt to have dieddue to encephalitis, other reasons have been cited for other deaths, PKSingh, Principal of BRD Medical College said.

On Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh's Special Task Force took into custody former principal of government-run BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur Rajiv Mishra and his wife for questioning in connection within the deaths of over 60 childrenwithin a week's time at the hospital earlier this month.

Mishra and his wife had gone underground after the case was registered against them and their phones were switched off.

Accordingto Gorakhpur SSP Anirudh Sidhartha Pankaj, a police team also went to the home of Dr Kafeel Khan, former nodal officer of the 100-bed acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) ward in the hospital, who was removed after child deaths, to quiz him but he was not there.

Mishraand his medico wife Purnima Shukla, who are named in an FIR lodged by the UP government, were picked up from Kanpur, where they had reportedlygone to consult a lawyer. "The STF team then left for Gorakhpur to carry out further interrogation there," Pankaj told the PTI in Gorakhpur.

Mishra had been suspended as principal of the college on August 12 after the deaths were reported and the same day he resignedtaking moral responsibility for the incident.

The UP government drew scathing criticism from the Opposition over the incident. As leaders from the Congress and the Samajwadi Party rushed to the city to make an "on-the-spot assessment", Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath retorted, saying that Gorakhpur should not be made a "picnic spot".

The state government also maintained that the deaths were not caused due to shortage of oxygen but various diseases.

Thedoctor couple was named in the FIR lodged by the state government aftera report by Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar, who had headed a probe team that went into the causes behind the deaths earlier this month.

The STF official said they were being quizzed but declined to share further details.

Askedwhether the duo had been arrested or detained, he said legal formalities would be carried out by the Gorakhpur police.    On Dr Kafeel Khan, the SSP said, "Police reached his residence for questioning. However, he was not there. His family members have been told to support the police, so that they do not face any legal action during investigation."

Recommendations were made by the probe teamto initiate criminal action against Dr Khan for allegedly concealing facts and filing false affidavit and working against the rules of the Indian Medical Council.

However, a group of doctors at AIIMS-Delhi had come out in his support, alleging that he was being madea scapegoat by the authorities.

The FIR was lodged in the Hazratganj police station here against nine people, including the formerprincipal, in connection with the deaths of children there due to alleged lack of oxygen supply. The case was transferred to Gorakhpur. The proprietors of M/s Pushpa Sales, the company responsible for the supply of liquid oxygen, have also been named in the FIR lodged by Director General, Medical Education, KK Gupta. Cases were registered under various sections of the IPC, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Medical Council Act against Dr Rajiv Mishra, Dr Purnima Shukla, Dr Kafeel Khan, Dr Satish, Chief Pharmacist Gajanan Jaiswal, Accountant Sudhir Pandey, Assistant Clerk, Uday Pratap Sharma of Pushpa Sales and Manish Bhandari. The IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.

The official report by the chief secretary, however, denied lack of oxygen as the cause of death.

Adityanathhad formed the committee on August 12, a day after the deaths of children were reported at the hospital. The state government has also shunted out additional chief secretary of medical education Anita Bhatnagar Jain.

Gorakhpur hospital horror continues: 42 kids die in last 48 hours