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The Congress on Sunday rubbished claims by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that the deaths of over 60 children in a Gorakhpur hospital were due to vector-borne diseases, and termed them as "murders" and a "massacre". The party has demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the incident.
The Congress also alleged that the Adityanath government was running an "operation cover-up" in an attempt to bury the truth.
"According to evidences that have emerged till now, and looking at the comments of the officials and the kin of the victims, the unusually high number of deaths occurred due to neglect and mismanagement, and not due to any disease as being claimed by the BJP government in the state," Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill told reporters at a press conference here.
"It has been proved that it was not just a tragedy but it was a murder and massacre," he alleged.
Attacking Adityanath, Shergill said, "The Chief Minister, the Health Minister, the principal of the Baba Raghav Das Medical College are all responsible for the deaths of the children in the state."
The Congress has demanded the resignation of state Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh over the deaths of 60 children in the government-run hospital in Gorakhpur, which is represented by the Chief Minister in the Lok Sabha for last two decades.
Initially, it was reported that the children died to to lack of liquid oxygen in the BRD college, but Adityanath has insisted that the deaths occurred due to encephalitis and other reasons, and not because of lack of oxygen supply.
Shergill said the hands of the Uttar Pradesh government were bloodied with the deaths. "Now they have launched an operation cover-up by ordering a Chief Secretary level-probe," Shergill said.
"We demand an independent probe, under the supervision of a Supreme Court judge," he said.
He also asked why the autopsies were not carried out on the children who died in the city hospital. "How can the government claim that deaths happened due to any disease without carrying out autopsies or any probe?" he questioned.
Firing salvos at the BJP-led government in the state, the Congress leader asked, "Why was no case registered against the hospital officials and why has not the Health Minister been sacked yet?"
Principal of the BRD Medical College R.K. Mishra was suspended for alleged negligence and callousness.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)