Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Saturday said that the state government should have been more compassionate and sensitive to the deaths of over 100 children in a hospital in Kota in December, ANI reported.
“I think our response to this [Kota infants’ deaths] could have been more compassionate and sensitive,” Pilot told reporters. “After being in power for 13 months I think it serves no purpose to blame the previous government’s misdeeds. Accountability should be fixed.”
Pilot added that instead of talking about the past and “weaving a web of numbers”, the government should focus on the present and fix responsibility, India Today reported. “So many children have died,” he said. “We have to fix responsibility. People voted out [former Chief Minister] Vasundhra Raje for her wrongs. But now it’s our responsibility.” Pilot also visited the hospital and met doctors.
On Friday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party had been raising the matter of infant deaths in order to distract attention from the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Meanwhile, a central team of medical experts reached the JK Lon Hospital in Kota on Saturday, even as the toll rose to 107, ANI reported. A three-member state government committee appointed to look into the matter had reported that the hospital has a shortage of beds and requires improvements. However, it absolved the doctors of all responsibility for the deaths.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, however, had found serious lapses at the hospital during the inspection. It had also found pigs roaming inside the hospital premises.
The hospital administration had last week appointed a committee headed by Paediatrics Department’s chief Amrit Lal Bairwa, to investigate the deaths of 10 infants in 48 hours. “The committee submitted that eight out of the 10 infants were referred from other hospitals in a critical condition and two were born at the hospital itself,” Rajasthan Medical Education Secretary Vaibhav Galriya had said. He added that the 10 infants who died were at higher risk due to premature birth.
On Friday, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to Rajasthan Chief Secretary Devendra Bhushan Gupta, asking him to submit a detailed report within four weeks on steps taken to resolve the matter. It also asked Gupta to ensure that such deaths do not recur in the future due to lack of facilities.