A day after the family of a newborn, who died soon after birth in an ambulance, alleged that staff at a government hospital in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district turned them away because they are Muslims, a report by the administration has concluded that this charge could not be proved.
The pregnant woman was referred to Jaipur by the doctors at Bharatpur and while she was on her way in an ambulance, she delivered the baby. The newborn died soon after.
According to the factual report prepared by the administration, the newborn’s father Irfan Khan had said in his statement that after knowing his name and address, the hospital staff had remarked, “Tablighi Jamaat wahan se nikli hai (Tablighi Jamaat has come out from there)”.
On Sunday, a video surfaced on social media in which Khan is seen saying that after the newborn’s death, he “thought” that whatever happened to him was because he is a Muslim but this was only a “personal thought”. He is also seen saying that the staff had not told him that his family couldn’t be treated because they are Muslims.
However, speaking to The Indian Express later in the day, Khan alleged that he made the statement in the video “after officials asked him not to stretch the issue further”. He also alleged that he was threatened and pressured by police.
He said he still believed that the staff at RBM Janana Hospital in Bharatpur turned them away after they learnt of their religion. He further said that he suspected that the hospital staff thought they were connected to Tablighi Jamaat.
“On being asked whether they refused to treat them because they were Muslims and misbehaved with them, he said they didn’t say personally that you are a Muslim and we wouldn’t treat you,” states the report prepared by Ummedi Lal Meena, secretary, Urban Improvement Trust, Bharatpur.
The report adds that the sister-in-law of Khan’s wife had said in her statement that the staff at the Bharatpur hospital referred them to Jaipur, but did not abuse or heckle them. She also said that they were not told that they won’t be treated because they are Muslims, the report says.
“I was threatened by police after the incident. I recorded that video after officers said that it would not be right to stretch the issue further… I still believe we were turned away after doctors came to know about my religion,” said Khan. “Therefore, on the basis of the aforementioned statements and the photocopy of the admission ticket, discharge letter, sonography report and documents related to the delivery of the child, it can be said as a conclusion that it can’t be proved that they were not treated on account of being them being Muslim. It appears that primary medical treatment of the woman was done and thereafter she was referred to Jaipur because her condition was serious,” states the report.
The report also has the statement of a doctor who attended to Khan’s wife Parveena.
“She was seven months pregnant and was bleeding excessively. Because of this, the woman had become too weak and the child’s heartbeat couldn’t be heard. After seeing this serious condition, the advice was given to send her to the women’s hospital Jaipur and after her relatives agreed, she was referred following initial treatment. I have not misbehaved with the woman and her relatives and neither were they refused treatment owing to them being Muslim,” states the statement of Dr Rekha Jharwal from the hospital. The report notes that in March, the hospital in Bharatpur recorded 699 deliveries and eight of the cases were of Muslim women. It also says 38 women were referred to other hospitals and one of them was a Muslim. The report also states that at present, Khan’s wife is admitted in the hospital and is being treated.
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