As many as 30 children had died over a period of 48 hours at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das (B.R.D.) Medical College, due to lack of oxygen in August, 2017. This number later rose to 72. Now, one of the accused in the case, Dr. Kafeel Khan has written from jail revealing how Chief Minister Adityanath had threatened him before he was sacked and arrested.
During the tragedy, the Adityanath led government refused to take responsibility and in addition to this, shifted the blame to doctors of the hospital. After the country came to know about the tragedy through media, reports of one Dr. Kafeel Khan having saved numerous children’s lives made news.
The oxygen supply in the hospital was getting over and the requests to replenish it were denied because the hospital had not cleared its dues. The children who were admitted in the encephalitis ward would all die if the shortage continued. Even though Dr. Kafeel was on leave that day, he made trips around the place to procure oxygen cylinders from other clinics thus saving the lives of many children.
In this context, the nation was shocked when they learned that Dr. Kafeel was arrested by Adityanath government accusing him of negligence of duty. Police later dropped the charges of corruption, engaging in private practice and violation of IT act after failing to find evidence.
Now, a ten paged letter has been published that’s reported to have been written by Dr. Kafeel. It throws light into the turn of events by which he was framed and arrested, him being denied bail hearings or proper healthcare. It illustrates how Adityanath had threatened the doctor before he was sacked and arrested.
The letter titled ‘8 Months In Jail Without Bail; Am I Really Guilty?’ is now circulating on social media. Khan says that his life turned upside down when after doing all he could, to procure oxygen and save the lives of children, the CM visited the hospital on August 13, 2017.
‘He asked – so you are doctor Kafeel? You arranged cylinders?
I was like – yes sir.
He got angry – so you think by arranging cylinders – you became hero – I will see it,’ the letters says.
He further alleges that Adityanath was angry because the matter reached media. After the incident, Dr. Kafeel says that police started frequenting his house and harassing his family, ‘howling, threatening and torturing’ them. He says that he surrendered to save his family from humiliation and misery and thinking that as long as he hadn’t done anything wrong, he would get justice.
The letter also says that the prisoners are kept in deplorable conditions with 200 people crammed into one room filled with mosquitoes and flies and shit in a toilet without a door. The letter points towards major discrepancies in the investigation stating how it was obvious that a doctor at the hospital was not responsible for the failure to pay dues to the oxygen agency.
‘I was nowhere involved with the purchase/tender/order/maintenance/supply/payment of liquid oxygen/ jumbo cylinders.’ The letter says that the real responsibility lay with those who did not take any action over the 14 reminders that were sent by the oxygen agency, Pushpa Sales. This includes DGME Medical Education, Principal Secretary, Health/Education and District Magistrate, Gorakhpur.
The officials or CM Adityanath have not responded to the allegations.