While visiting the families of three children who were reportedly among those who died at BRD Medical College and Hospital in less than a week, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday demanded an “impartial inquiry”, saying that the probe initiated by BJP “cannot be trusted”.
He also reiterated his demand for Rs 20 lakh compensation to each of the deceased children’s families, and strict action against the guilty. According to a party statement, the former chief minister said “there should be no politics over the deaths of innocent children”, but responsibility and accountability of the incident must be fixed.
The statement said Akhilesh visited Brahmadev Yadav, Santosh Gond and Kishun Gupta, whose children had allegedly died at the hospital. He also said the state government had adopted an “insensitive approach” and its ministers are “changing their statements” .
In Lucknow, Congress workers led by state party president Raj Babbar held a protest near the Gandhi statue in Hazratganj, seeking Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation. Babbar said when Adityanath had claimed that the deaths did not occur due to shortage of oxygen, why was he get an inquiry done, and why was the oxygen vendor raided at night.
Babbar further said that the chief minister’s statement that the deaths had occurred due to encephalitis even before the inquiry’s report comes showed that he is “influencing” the probe. He also asked why the medical college’s principal Dr Rajiv Mishra was suspended and the head of the encephalitis ward Dr Kafeel Khan removed when “17 letters for payment of dues” were sent by the oxygen supplier “with their copies marked for information to the principal secretary, health, health minister and chief secretary”.
Babbar said Adityanath should disclose how many times he had met the union health minister, responsible officers, union Minister of State, health secretary or DG, Health, during the UPA government’s rule between 2004 and 2014.
Responding to the CM’s claim that Ghulam Nabi Azad — who was health minister in the UPA government — had said he could not do anything about the encephalitis issue as it is a state matter, Babbar said the UPA government had given Rs 150 crore for an AIIMS and to make BRD Medical College and Hospital a “super specialty” facility.
He added that a 100-bed encephalitis ward with “modern technology and facilities” was also given to the hospital at the time.