Gorakhpur tragedy: Government evades accountability as Independence Day overshadows death of 72 infants

The clicking of heels and gun salutes at India Gate on Independence Day is likely to drown the wails of the 72 families stunned by grief in Gorakhpur's BRD Hospital

Bikram Vohra August 15, 2017 06:42:56 IST
Gorakhpur tragedy: Government evades accountability as Independence Day overshadows death of 72 infants

There is a great relief in knowing that Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and minister for health Siddharth Nath Singh have survived in their jobs and will stoically bear the burden of the death of 72 infants at the hospital in Gorakhpur. The latter is, incidentally, the grandson of Lal Bahadur Shastri but at present, he is more akin to Bre'r Rabbit as he advisedly lies low and says nuffin'.

By placing the state chief secretary in-charge of the investigation into the 72 deaths, the UP totem pole has saved the political entities, the bureaucracy, the administration and served up one sacrificial dish to emphasise its 'stringent intent'. Look at it this way. The system is untouched and unaffected and has been saved from those of us who unreasonably demand a certain accountability.

Gorakhpur tragedy Government evades accountability as Independence Day overshadows death of 72 infants

File image of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath. PTI

This Houdini-like-ability to wriggle out of the ropes of responsibility have been made possible by three elements. First off, they have shown a deep intent by sacking Dr Kafeel Khan, head of pediatric ward, BRD Medical College, so there's a valid scapegoat to finger-point.

That the good doctor (Khan) is being hailed as the one person who shoved his hand in his pocket and tried hard to save lives and went out and bought oxygen off his own bat is a major factor that is being sidetracked seeing as how he is the politically-chosen-one for sacrifice. It has been conveniently forgotten that doctors have to make do with whatever that is sanctioned by the administration, and it is those heavyweight mandarins who should be raked over the coals. But then these plum posts with their fancy designations are probably enjoying some patronage, so they have been left untouched.

So far so good. We have got our guy. Now with the Independence Day upon us, the attention will shift to pomp and ceremony at the India Gate, and all the clicking of heels and gun salutes will drown the wails of the 72 families stunned by grief. You can almost sense the exhaustion in the public and the media as the reportage begins to slip off the page and within the next 24 hours will pale into oblivion.

We just don't have the stamina to keep at it and life at the common man level is cheap. No financial relief has been granted to these families and they are all anonymous, and just a stat — cold and bloodless. Even the Supreme Court has refused to take cognisance of the tragic events over the six days.

Harnessing our public apathy, which is best reflected in the flagging effort to mount a nationwide campaign of protest on social networks against what is most kindly described as an atrocity, the Centre has also adopted a posture of genial condemnation all of utterly sans any point confident that this cloudburst shall also pass.

That no one in power will be held culpable, and the management, the board, the various departments, and suppliers will keep passing the buck till it cools off is now a given.

The kids don't even get a decent burial.

And the prime minister hasn't yet found it necessary to share his Mann Ki Ba'ath. Bigger fish to fry.

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