It is only the Yogi Adityanath govt that is accountable for those deaths

If he were a conscientious man, he would have resigned rather than try to hoodwink people

 PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Humra Quraishi

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, should step down. In fact, he should be asked, if not forced and compelled, to resign. Let’s not overlook the fact that last week, over 70 children died in less than 6 days at BRD Medical College in his constituency of Gorakhpur. This is a constituency he has been representing for the last near 20 years. Also, not to be overlooked is the fact that encephalitis didn’t strike overnight. Eastern Uttar Pradesh districts, including Gorakhpur, have been reporting hundreds of encephalitis cases every year. In fact, if I am correct the first case was reported way back in 1978.

What has Yogi Adityanath done for his Gorakhpur constituency all these years when he has been representing it? And now, what has he done, after becoming the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh? Apparently nothing very much, expect indulging in plain politics! In fact, it’s been appalling to see him and his government indulge in blame games, trying their utmost to come up with an array of excuses for these deaths. If the children did not die because of lack of oxygen, then how did they die?

And there, you had the Yogi Sarkar’s spokespersons come on the small screen with no apologies, no condolences, no acceptance of some hard-hitting facts. Not even taking the responsibility of those deaths! In fact, Siddharthnath Singh, who happens to be health minister in the Yogi sarkar and also works overtime as the spokesperson, was even seen smiling on the small screen in the midst of trying to put up weak excuses for those deaths! It was not just shameful but utterly callous.

In fact, he went a step ahead and even tried ‘justifying’ these deaths by reading out numbers of deaths in the preceding years. As though relaying that it was okay…all too normal for these deaths to take place; after all, children had been dying all these years! And last night, as I heard another of Uttar Pradesh Sarkar’s spokespersons, Anila Singh with the same arrogance and that ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude !

Along expected lines, blame has been heaped on the head of this medical college, Rajiv Mishra, and also on Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan, head of the paediatrics ward. No, not an answer to the various ‘whys’: why wasn’t sufficient oxygen available in the wards even after the concerned hospital authorities had been sending urgent messages to the babus in the Yogi Sarkar for payment of arrears to the suppliers and also for the procurement of oxygen cylinders? Why haven’t erring bureaucrats sacked or suspended? Is it because there is a strong nexus between politicians and bureaucrats? What about a deeper nexus between the Yogi Sarkar with the Modi Sarkar and the likes of Amit Shahs? Are we supposed to overlook the fact that the one of the first politicians to come to Yogi’s defence was Amit Shah? Are we a bunch of fools to get conned by useless weak excuses and alibis ? Is the suspension and sacking of two doctors justified, when corruption is rampant in the state machinery, when distractions are created along communal strains? Did Yogi Adityanath and any of his ministers or babus visit the shamshan ghats and qabristans when the poor grieving parents were performing the last rites of their children?

Yogi’s government is accountable for these deaths and also for the callousness that followed and is still ongoing. He should not manage to get away by hoodwinking people, by just telling them that an inquiry is on! In fact, I simply dread the word ‘ inquiry’. To me, it is an euphemism for pushing crucial facts under dusty carpets, as concocted theories and alibis get into circulation.

And in the midst of this tragedy, Yogi also played a religious card, almost ordering policemen to celebrate Janamashthami in the police lines and stations and offices. Also, how could he let the Muslims of the state let go? So, he issued orders to madrasas and other Islamic institutions on presenting recorded evidence of Independence Day celebrations!

Did Yogi send out a similar set of instructions to the various Ashrams or the RSS-run schools or even to the other regular schools of his state? Why did he single out only Muslim educational institutions? Do he and his government not trust the Muslims’ love for the country? Is he trying to question the very loyalty of Indian Muslims? Is he trying to heap another round of divisions? Is he so caught up with playing communal politics that he hasn’t bothered to take note of the Indian Muslims’ decision to stay back as many as seven decades back?

Has Yogi read this verse of the last of the last Mughal Emperors of Hindustan – Bahadur Shah Zafar ( 1775 – 1862)?

Ode to Hindustan/

Matchless is the soil of Hindustan/

In it grow love, compassion, fidelity/

As sure as the sun rises from the East/

So surges from this land sincerity./

This is the true seed of Hind and from its earth/

These fruits have spread across the world, far and wide.

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