Ahmedabad infant deaths: Congress demands SIT probe into demise of 11 newborns

Ahmedabad: The Congress on Tuesday asked the Gujarat government to seek an apology from the people for the death of infants at a civil hospital in Ahmedabad and demanded an SIT investigation into the matter.

Eleven newborns had died at the civil hospital in 36 hours since Friday midnight prompting the Gujarat government to order a probe into the circumstances and causes of the deaths.

Gorakhpur. Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

It had set up a committee to probe the matter, which in its report on Monday gave a clean chit to the hospital, saying the newborns died due to “low birth weight” and complications of premature deliveries.

“The patients were given proper, intense and timely treatment,” the report stated.

Senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Tuesday said the clean chit given by a government panel to the civil hospital where infants died, was an “eyewash” and demanded that a special investigation team (SIT) headed by a sitting High Court judge should probe the matter.

“An inspection report released in December 2013 had said there was no CCTV camera in the neonatal ward, even when it was essential to monitor newborns 24 hours. I visited the ward yesterday and found that no camera was installed at even one place,” he told reporters in Ahmedabad.

Gohil said proper monitoring of infants’ health could have saved the lives.

“We demand that the government accepts its mistakes and seek apology from the people rather than patting its back by giving itself a clean chit,” he said.

The Congress leader claimed the inspection report had stated that despite the availability of grants, liquid diet was not given to the babies admitted to the hospital.

Ambulances at the hospital also lack life-support system. Pregnant women are being neglected and not provided proper nutritional diets, he alleged.

“Low birth weight across the state is also due to the BJP government’s criminal negligence. Anganwadis and Asha workers are being exploited by the government as they are given inadequate wages and are not properly compensated,” Gohil alleged.

Following the death of infants, the state government had said that five to six infants die on an average every day due to various reasons and accepted that “extremely low birth weight deliveries continue to be a challenge in Gujarat in view of the suboptimal nutritional status of pregnant women.”

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