Rejecting the claims made by Akhilesh Yadav that encephalitis has claimed lives of over 1,000 children in Gorakhpur in the past one year, the UP government on Tuesday accused the Samajwadi Party president of misleading the people with false figures and said that as compared to 2016, there has been a decrease of about 65-70 per cent in the cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) and Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
Speaking to mediapersons here after the Cabinet meeting, minister and government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said that 229 cases of Japanese Encephalitis were reported last year (2019) and about 18 people had died. According to him, 2,026 cases of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome were reported last year and 100 people had died of it. These numbers, he said, were much lower as compared to previous years numbers.
Later in the day, the government released figures of JE and AES cases in the state. As per the released data, there were 641 AES deaths in 2016, which went on to increase to 655 in 2017. In 2018, the number of AES deaths dropped to 248, while last year it dropped further to 122, the government said. Regarding JE, the number of deaths was 74 in 2016, 93 in 2017 and 30 in 2018. Last year, according to the government figures, the number of deaths caused by JE dropped to 21.
The government also claimed that there has been a decrease in the number of AES cases and deaths at BRD Medical College of Gorakhpur. (See box)
“These days, the politics of misleading people has become a trend. This is called spit and run in English, where there is no truth but the aim is to just mislead people,” Singh said hitting out the Samajwadi Party chief.
“We do not know from where they (SP) got their figures, but they are all false. It is sad that Akhileshji has been chief minister of this state and he does not even understand the difference between JE, AES and neo-natal deaths due to malnutrition, and that is why they could not control cases and deaths,” Singh said, adding that international newspapers like New York Times and Washington Post have praised the BJP government for controlling the disease.
“They just want to do politics, even if it is in the name of death of children,” he added.
On Monday, Akhilesh Yadav had claimed that more than 1,500 children have died in a period of 10 months last year at BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur due to encephalitis, and demanded a probe by a team of expert doctors, monitored by a sitting Supreme Court or High Court judge. Akhilesh had earlier claimed that in the past year, nearly 1,000 children died in Gorakhpur due to negligence.