yogi adityanath
UP CM Yogi Adityanath [File photo]Reuters

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has blamed internal politics at the government-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital in Gorakhpur for the deaths of over 60 infants last year.

The Chief Minister was speaking at an event in Lucknow last evening when he stated that the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy was blown out of proportion and the infants did not die due to oxygen shortage in the first place. He said if there would have been a lack of oxygen supply at the hospital, the kids on the ventilator would have died first. 

Recalling his visit to the hospital after the incident, Adityanath said that he came to know that there was no shortage of oxygen. "After the incident came to light, I immediately asked the Director General Health, the Health Minister and the Medical Education Minister to reach the spot and report to me. Next day, I went there myself and came to know that there was no shortage of oxygen. Had it been oxygen shortage then the kids on the ventilator would have died first," ANI quoted Adityanath as saying.

Last year in August, the tragedy had claimed the lives of 60 children in a week's time. The reason behind the deaths was said to be a lack of oxygen supply due to unpaid bills to the vendors but the Yogi Adityanath led government had denied the same. 

After the incident, the paediatrician at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital, Dr Kafeel Khan, was arrested but has now been released. After completing the investigation, the Gorakhpur police has filed a chargesheet and named nine people as accused in the case including three doctors and Dr Kafeel. 

Adityanath said that at first, he had thought that the deaths had occurred due to Japanese Encephalitis but it was after the media reported extensively on the incident and highlighted that the number of deaths had gone up from 13 to 59, that he took the situation seriously.

 "I thought they were normal casualties due to Japanese Encephalitis that usually happens at that time of the year. I thought it was a regular news story but then media started reporting the number of deaths from 13 to 59," he said.