The city magistrate’s investigation has claimed that lack of oxygen had caused the deaths of 49 children at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. The government, however, dismissed the report and called the findings superficial.

As many as 49 children died between July 21 and August 20 in the Sick Newborn Care Unit of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Farrukhabad. After these reports emerged on Monday, the state government had transferred Farrukhabad District Magistrate Ravindra Kumar, the chief medical officer and the chief medical superintendent of the district hospital.

City Magistrate Jainendra Kumar Jain lodged a First Information Report, in which he said the hospital’s doctors had “neither administered oxygen nor any medicines” while treating the children. The report attributed the deaths to “perinatal asphyxia”, a condition in which the child cannot breathe properly.

“It was amply clear that most children died because of lack of oxygen,” Jain said. He lodged and FIR against the chief medical officer, the chief medical superintendent and a senior child specialist of the hospital.

The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered an investigation into the incident, which is expected to be conducted on Tuesday.

Doctors go on leave in protest

All doctors at government hospitals in the district have gone on mass leave starting Tuesday till September 7, IANS reported. Officials of medical associations in Uttar Pradesh said emergency and post-mortem services, however, will not be disturbed.

The protesting doctors have alleged that the state government is acting in haste and under pressure and is unnecessarily blaming innocent doctors. They demanded that the FIR against the medical professionals be withdrawn and a technical team be formed to investigate the children’s deaths.

The news from Farrukhabad comes after at least 63 children died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s constituency of Gorakhpur, between August 7 and August 11.