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Gorakhpur hospital tragedy: NHRC seeks report from Uttar Pradesh govt in four weeks

In the wake of the shocking deaths of children  due to lack of oxygen in Uttar Pradesh's Baba Raghav Das (BRD)Medical College, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Yogi Adityanath government, giving it four weeks to submit a report on the issue.

Viewing the tragedy as a "serious violation of Right to Life", the human rights commission has demanded a detailed report on the steps taken by the state government to rehabilitate the affected families.

Over 60 children have reportedly died due to encephalitis at BRD Medical College Hospital since 7 August.  Many of the victims were infants who died in the neonatal intensive care unit.

NHRC logo. Wikimedia Commons

NHRC logo. Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to take suo motu cognisance of the matter and asked the petitioner, who sought an SIT probe, to approach the Allahabad High Court.

Meanwhile, health authorities delivered oxygen to the public hospital on Monday. 

Here's the full text of NHRC's press release:

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Government of Uttar Pradesh, through its Chief Secretary, calling for a detailed report in the matter of several deaths of children in the BRD Medical College, Gorakhpur, along with the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation of the affected families as well as action taken against the guilty officers within four weeks. The notice follows the suo motu cognizance taken by the Commission of several media reports hinting at negligence in the supply of liquid oxygen at the hospital which resulted in the tragedy.

The Commission has observed that reported deaths, in such a large number in a government run hospital, amount to serious violation of Right to Life and Health of the innocent victims. This indicates towards gross callousness on part of the hospital administration and the Medical Education and Health Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. Earlier also, it has come across several instances of deaths in the hospitals due to Japanese Encephalitis.

The Commission has further observed that the issue of deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis was discussed with the Chief Secretary and other senior officers of the State Government in detail during its recently concluded Open Hearing and Camp Sitting at Lucknow for the cases of Uttar Pradesh from the 9th to 11th August, 2017. However, in spite of assurance given by the state administration, the situation has not improved.

According to the various media reports, carried since 12th to 14th August, 2017, by the most of the Hindi and English newspapers, the private firm, contracted to supply liquid oxygen to the BRD Medical College, stopped the supplies, as it was not paid the outstanding dues of almost Rs. 70 Lakh and the result was tragic deaths of about 60 children, admitted in the Neo-natal and Encephalitis Wards of the hospital.

As per media reports, the magisterial inquiry has been ordered by the administration to ascertain the cause of death. In the last three decades, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have claimed over 50,000 lives in the eastern Uttar Pradesh, mostly in the Gorakhpur district. It is further mentioned that total 124 deaths were reported in the hospital till 8th August, 2017. 641 children died last year and 491 in the year 2015.

The entire press release has been taken exactly as posted by the official website of the NHRC and has not been edited by Firstpost.

Updated Date: Aug 14, 2017 15:23 PM

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