New Delhi: Sharply reacting to death of 30 children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh due lack of oxygen, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said that it is not a tragedy, but a massacre.
“30 kids died in hospital without oxygen. This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre. Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children?,’ Kailash Satyarthi said in a post on social media.
At least 30 children died since Thursday in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College amid allegations that a private contractor stopped supplying oxygen cylinders as the government-run hospital hasn’t paid dues of about Rs 70 lakh.
The Uttar Pradesh government denied the charge, saying alternative arrangements for oxygen supply were made and the patients died of “various medical reasons and illnesses”. But according to a news agency report, a Union Home Ministry statement that quoted the Gorakhpur police superintendent said 21 children died because of shortage of oxygen.
Even as 90 jumbo oxygen cylinders were pressed into service to maintain the supply on Friday, the hospital ran out of oxygen around 1 am. As all hell broke loose at the hospital, as many as 50 more oxygen cylinders were brought in around 3.30 am, which also ran dry by 7.30 am.
Of the 73 patients in the 100-bed encephalitis ward, 54 were on ventilator when the oxygen supply was disrupted at 7.30 am.
Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday expressed her deep shock at the tragic death of children.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi also expressed his pain and blamed the state’s BJP government was responsible for the tragedy.