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UP claims 'normalcy' in Gorakhpur, opposition protests continue

Lucknow, Aug 14 (IANS) The situation at Gorakhpur’s BRD medical college where over 60 children, including infants died last week owing to alleged disruption of oxygen supply in the paediatrics and acute encephalitis wards, is normal, officials claimed on Monday even as the opposition continued to protest the deaths.

While most officials refused to entertain queries from the media about the casualties in the last 24 hours, sources in the state-run hospital said things were “better, improved and under control”.

Opposition parties however continued to slam the Yogi Adityanath government for alleged callousness, leading to loss of innocent lives. Leading the attack on the BJP government was former Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav who visited Gorakhpur and met the bereaved families.

Expressing anguish at the deaths of children, he said while there should be no politics on the issue, but action should be expedited against the guilty and the state government should try to get to the bottom of the tragedy.

He also demanded a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each for the families who lost their children over the last one week.

The Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) on Monday demonstrated against the state government in Gorakhpur, alleging mishandling of the situation and a large number of its workers were arrested.

State Secretary Sudhakar Yadav said the “state-sponsored massacre” will not be allowed to be forgotten and that the state government will have to own moral responsibility for the tragedy.

Demonstrations by various political parties have also been reported from Deoria, Mau, Ghazipur, Ballia, Varanasi, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Moradabad, Pillbhit and the state capital.

Workers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) meanwhile gheraoed the personal residence of the state Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon here and were arrested. District convener of AAP Gaurav Maheshwari said police force was used against them.

The AAP has also alleged that due to “failure in negotiation in commission and cuts” for delay in payment to the oxygen vendor which led to the tragedy. Maheshwari also demanded that a case of murder be slapped on Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh.

The ruling BJP however trashed such reports and claimed that the Chief Minister was very much sensitive to the situation and vector borne disease of encephalitis.

“The Prime Minister immediately sent two ministers to Gorakhpur and so did Yogiji, where is the alleged callousness?” said BJP state spokesman Manish Shukla, asking political parties not to engage in politics over the issue.

Post Source: Ians feed

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