Updated: August 22, 2021 7:26:09 am
Taking note of videos that showed children undergoing treatment at Vidisha district hospital being huddled together and made to wait at a government function to inaugurate an oxygen plant, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Saturday issued notice to Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bains. The apex child rights panel asked Bains to conduct an inquiry in seven days and take action against those responsible.
The oxygen plant was inaugurated virtually by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The notice from NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo stated, “The children were made to sit for over two hours under the scorching sun, which prima-facie appears to be in violation of Section 75 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Child Protection) Act 2015.”
Chief Medical and Health Officer of Vidisha, Akhand Pratap Singh, said, “We will conduct an inquiry to ascertain who exactly did it. But it could not be that the children were there for two hours, as the programme lasted for about 45 minutes.”
Kanoongo told The Sunday Express, “I received videos of the event from people who attended it, in which the children were seen sitting in the functions. The video was disheartening, so we have ordered an inquiry and asked for the person responsible to be punished.”
Stating that he was present throughout, district CMHO Singh said, “Just when the programme was to start, respected MLA Umakant Sharma pointed out that no girl was present for ‘kanya pooja’. We (then) tried to get a girl child, and in that confusion someone might have called the children from the ward.” He also said it is possible that a handful of children came to observe the programme with their parents.
The NCPCR notice stated that family members of patients admitted in the hospital, along with family members of the children and the children themselves, were sent to the programme by hospital staff in order to gather crowd for the Health Department function. The District Magistrate was present at the venue, it noted.
Those found violating Section 75 of JJ Act is punishable with a jail term that may extend up to three years, or with Rs 1 lakh fine, or both.
On Saturday, CM Chouhan, with state BJP president V D Sharma and other ministers, held the virtual inauguration of 10 oxygen plants at Ashta and Rehti in Sehore district.