Mumbai, Aug 14: Politics over the death of 63 children in Gorakhpur’s government hospital continues unabated. In the latest salvo, the Shiv Sena termed the tragedy as ‘mass murder’ in its mouthpiece, the Saamana.
The party, which shares an uneasy alliance with the BJP in Maharashtra, took pot shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said: “The sufferings of the poor don’t move our politicians. And that is the failure of our Independence. This suffering and pain are the Mann Ki Baat of the poor. Thankfully, the government has at least admitted that there are so many deaths in Gorakhpur. Otherwise, they would have said that these children have only stopped breathing, and will start breathing again once they hear the independence speech delivered from Red Fort.”
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray added: “If children really do die in August each year, how come children of politicians and local strongmen are spared? Doesn’t death visit their homes? This is mass murder of children.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today refused to intervene in the issue saying the matter was being handled by the Uttar Pradesh government and any grievances about it should be raised before the Allahabad High Court. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during his visit to the hospital yesterday promised exemplary punishment for the guilty. Union minister JP Nadda, who had accompanied the Chief Minister has ruled out a separate investigation by the Centre.
Oxygen shortage has been blamed for the deaths — a claim the hospital authorities have denied. The state government has already taken action, removing the doctor in charge Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan and suspending the hospital chief RK Mishra, for negligence. The oxygen supply had been stopped by the vendor after the hospital defaulted on payment. Last Thursday, the hospital had been functioning without any oxygen cylinder for two hours. The Uttar Pradesh government says it had cleared the payment for the vendor on August 7 but the funds were not released by hospital authorities until August 11.