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Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh on Saturday said the Opposition must not politicise the deaths that have been reported at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur, the parliamentary constituency represented by chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
Adding that proper investigation must take place since this was a serious issue, Singh told ANI, “Opposition parties should not politicise deaths. Proper investigation to be done and quick action to be taken. It’s serious issue.” Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya too criticised Opposition parties. “Opposition giving statements in haste. UP government is committed to service of people. Strict action to be taken,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. The state government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
State Minister of Technical Education & Medical Education Ashutosh Tandon said Adityanath had asked him to inspect the situation at the hospital and report back. “CM is keeping track of things. He called Health Minister and me. Both of us will go to Gorakhpur, inspect and report back to him,” the Lucknow East MLA was quoted as saying by ANI. Read | Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: 60 kids die in five days, 9 the day Yogi Adityanath came visiting
At least 60 children have died at the hospital in the last five days due to a range of reasons including encephalitis. While the deaths are being blamed on infections and on alleged oxygen supply shortage in the medical institute’s paediatrics ward, hospital and district administration rejected oxygen shortage as the reason.
Gorakhpur District Magistrate Rajeev Rautela told the Indian Express, “No death in BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, has taken place due to shortage of oxygen supply. Only seven deaths have taken place at the BRD Medical College today and these were due to different medical reasons.” See PHOTOS from the hospital in Gorakhpur.
The deaths have caused widespread condemnation from political parties who slammed the state government led by the BJP. Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has demanded compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the families of the deceased and strong action against the officials for negligence. Security outside the hospital has been tightened in view of visits by political leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Raj Babbar and Sanjay Singh.
Gorakhpur has witnessed at least 114 deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) this year. AES is an umbrella classification under which comes the diseases Japanese Encephalitis (JE), water-borne encephalitis and scrub typhus, among others. Earlier, Ravindra Kumar, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Gorakhpur, claimed: “In the months of August to October, people are more prone to acquiring some form of AES.”