At least 60 children have died in the past five days in Gorakhpur at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital because of infections and an alleged disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics ward. The Uttar Pradesh government is facing the heat from Opposition parties and other outlets since Gorakhpur falls under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency.
Both the opposition parties in the state have decided to send teams to Gorakhpur. “As many as 60 children have died in a government hospital in Gorakhpur in the last six-seven days. This is an example of gross criminal negligence of the BJP government,” Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said in a release here.
While the state government has already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, state ministers have criticised Opposition parties for politicising the deaths. Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya told ANI on Saturday that their political rivals were making comments in “haste”. State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh also told ANI that Opposition should refrain from politicising the issue. Leaders from Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have expressed their condolences for the bereaved families and have called out the state government for its alleged laxity in the tragedy.
Gorakhpur hospital tragedy highlights:
8:45 pm: Supplier wrote letter to the Principal on August 1 which was sent to DG medical education on Aug 4 and money was released on Aug 5: UP CM
8:18 pm: UP government will send its report to Centre soon, says Sidharth Nath Singh.
8:10 pm: All deaths not related to issue, says Siddharth Nath Singh.
8:09 pm: Government taking issue very seriously, says Siddharth Nath Singh
8:00 pm: We have constituted a committee to be lead by Chief Secretary to inquire the role of oxygen supplier in the incident: UP CM
7:54 pm: Will probe into the role of suppliers, says Adityanath.
7:52 pm: My condolences with families who have lost their children in this incident, says Adityanath.
7:50 pm: Because different news reports have been published in different newspapers, I urge you to see this issue in the right perspective, says Adityanath.
7:47 pm: PM Modi concerned about reports in media about Gorakhpur.
7:45 pm: Yogi Adityanath addresses press conference in Lucknow.
6:50 pm: UP CM Yogi Adityanath calls meeting of UP ministers Siddharth Nath Singh,Ashutosh Tandon and MoS Health Anupriya Patel over incident.
6:15 pm: Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said: “I am sure he will take it very seriously and it must be taken so. This is an hour of test for the chief minister.”
6:10 pm: Opposition SP and BSP say infant deaths an outcome of UP govt’s gross criminal negligence, demand high-level probe; will send teams to Gorakhpur.
6:00 pm: In UP’s Gorakhpur more than 60 children have died. Congress party is with the bereaved families: Congress V-P Rahul Gandhi in Raichur
5.30 pm: Union Health Minister JP Nadda has spoken to UP CM Yogi Adityanath and assured him of assistance and expertise from the Centre.
5.00 pm: Speaking on the child deaths in Gorakhpur, Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath said, “Encephalitis is a challenge”.
4.36 pm: Meanwhile, suspended BRD medical college principal said he had given his resignation prior to the suspension, taking responsibility for the tragedy, ANI reported.
4.33 pm: Expressing his anguish over the death of 30 children in last 48 hours, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav told ANI: “children were murdered”.
4.00 pm: BRD medical college principal has been suspended with immediate effect for the negligent behaviour, Minister for medical education A Tandon was quoted as saying by ANI. He also confirmed that a high-level probe will take place, which will be headed by Principal secretary.
3.52 pm: UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh has said children didn’t die due to disruption of gas supply.
3.42 pm: PMO also tweeted that MoS Health Anupriya Patel and the Union Health Secretary will take stock of the situation from Gorakhpur.
3.40 pm: Reflecting on the tragedy, the Prime Minister’s Office said, “PM is constantly monitoring the situation in Gorakhpur. He is in constant touch with authorities from the Central & UP Governments.”
2.50 pm: Minister of State Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel will be visiting Gorakhpur to take stock of the situation. “PM Modi is extremely saddened. Will be reaching Gorakhpur shortly so, I can get first hand information,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.
1.30 pm: BSP chief Mayawati hits out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh for the tragic death of children. “Iss dardnak ghatna ke liye BJP sakaar ki jitni ninda ki jaaye utni kam hogi (In the wake of such a tragic incident, no amount of criticism would be enough for the BJP government.),” she told reporters. “I have made a three-member team who will take stock of situation at the hospital and update me on current situation,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.
1.20 pm: Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday that the “BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government was responsible for the tragedy.” “Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP govt is responsible and should punish the negligent, who caused this tragedy,” he wrote on Twitter. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi too expressed her condolences adding that her heart went out to the families of the innocent children who “fell prey to gross negligence and incorrigible misconduct on part of the authorities”.
1.10 pm: UP Technical and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh hold meeting with BRD Medical College authorities.
1.00 pm: “Deaths not due to oxygen supply cut-off, no one can stop supply like this, we know consequences,” Meenu Walia, Pushpa Gas agency HR told ANI. “Repeatedly communicated about pending payments to concerned authorities but never got response.”
12.50 pm: Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi termed the Gorakhpur hospital deaths “a massacre.” “.. kids died in hospital without oxygen. This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre. Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children? Appeal to CM Yogi Adityanath. Your decisive intervention can correct decades of corrupt medical system of UP to prevent such incidents,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.
12.40 pm: Now Union Health Minister JP Nadda directs MoS Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel to visit Gorakhpur. ANI reported that Nadda has also sought a detailed report from UP Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh and Technical/Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon.
12.30 pm: The BRD Medical College on Friday gave a break-up of the 60 deaths since August 7 under categories listed as NICU (neonatal intensive care unit ), Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), non-AES:
August 7: 9 (4 NICU, 2 AES, 3 non-AES)
August 8: 12 (7 NICU, 3 AES, 2 non-AES)
August 9: 9 (6 NICU, 2 AES, 1 non-AES)
August 10: 23 (14 NICU, 3 AES, 6 non-AES)
August 11: 7 (3 NICU, 2 AES, 2 non-AES)
12.25 pm: The state government has said leaders have been politicising the issue. Akhilesh said in his press conference that the government was “trying to run away from responsibilities that’s why saying that opposition is politicising the situation.”
12.20 pm: A letter has been recovered where hospital authorities were informed about the alleged oxygen shortage. ANI reported the oxygen supply department in the Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College’s hospital warned about shortage on August 3 and 10 informing them about the shortage of oxygen cylinders as the Pushpa Sales stopped supply over pending payment. Read more here.
12.15 pm: Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said a Samajwadi Party delegation would visit Gorakhpur. “Government is not revealing truth. Therefore delegation from SP will go to BRD Medical College to see the situation and inform government and party,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. He also alleged that instead of doing work, government was hounding Samajwadi Party workers. PHOTOS from BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur
12.10 pm: Congress leader Manish Tewari said Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath must resign on grounds along with his Health Minister. “Considering he (Yogi Adityanath) is both MP and CM, he must take moral responsibility and step down, so should his Health Minister,” Tewari was quoted as saying by ANI. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also condemned the incident on Twitter. Recalling PM Narendra Modi’s tweet on Nitish Kumar’s resignation, Singh called out Modi for remaining silent on the Gorakhpur tragedy.
12. oo pm: Earlier today ANI reported that 63 children had died in the tragedy so far. However, The Indian Express cannot verify these numbers. Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: 60 kids die in five days, 9 the day Yogi Adityanath came visiting
11. 53 am: Former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had also called for a strict investigation into matter demanding Rs 20 lakh compensation for the families of the deceased children. Earlier today, SP leader Ramgopal Yadav too said that the parents of children who died must get compensation. “Free medicine must be provided to poor families across UP,” Ramgopal told ANI.
11:50 am: Meanwhile, BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria has called for resignation of UP CM Adityanath. “Hope he (Yogi Adityanath) has enough shame in him to go and regret to the parents and quit on moral grounds (sic),” he told ANI. “Matter of great shame for UP CM. If there’s any morality in govt he should quit and go, for the disaster that has happened.”
11.45 am: Azad also said this was a “heart-wrenching incident.” “Saddened by children’s death. This happened due to state govt’s carelessness,” he told reporters outside the hospital.
11.30 am: A delegation of Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Raj Babbar and Sanjay Singh, visited the BRD Medical College on Saturday. They visited patients in the paediatrics ICU. Heavy police forces were also deployed outside the hospital ahead of the visit. “Both Health Minister and Minister of Technical and Medical Education must resign. UP CM can’t step back from duty. Must apologise to state,” Azad was quoted as saying by ANI.