The Allahabad High Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government and the Director General of Medical Education to file a counter affidavit to a Public Interest Litigation about the Gorakhpur deaths case, PTI reported. The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court gave the state government and the DGME six weeks to file the affidavit, and said the next hearing would be held on October 9.

Officials said 71 children had died since August 7 at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, PTI reported. The died of several causes including encephalitis, officials said.

Petitioner Nutan Thakur had alleged that the government’s actions so far seemed to indicate that it was trying to hide facts and shield the guilty. Arguing against this, Advocate General Raghavendra Pratap Singh said that the government had taken every possible action in the matter and would continue to do so, based on the report submitted by Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar.

A fact-finding team of the Indian Medical Association on Friday said that oxygen supply at Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital was disrupted on the night of August 10, leading to the deaths of children. A three-member IMA team released their report after visiting the institute on Thursday.

The team blamed the hospital administration for the crisis and also charged the former principal of the medical college, Rajeev Mishra, and the head of the encephalitis ward, Khafeel Khan, with negligence. The IMA panel also felt the Uttar Pradesh administration had maligned several senior doctors at the BRD Medical College and Hospital by blaming them for the deaths