Delhi’s dengue bluff: Just 4 died officially, but HT finds 19 in one locality
Abuzar, 14, died at Apollo Hospital on September 13. His death certificate says he died of “dengue shock syndrome with multiple organ failure”. But the 14-year-old does not figure in the city’ s municipal records of dengue deaths. Nor do the names of 18 other residents of Shaheen Bagh and Abu Fazal enclave in Jamia Nagar who died of the mosquito-borne disease.
Death certificates of 10 of these victims and blood test reports of seven others show they died of dengue, but civic bodies have refused to budge from their official count of four deaths and 1,378 infections in the Capital this year.
The locality in south-east Delhi has a population of around 100,000. According to activist Sameer Khan, at least 30 people have fallen to dengue in the area in the last two months. Families of two victims have left for their ancestral village, neighbours said.
Questioning the official toll, local lawmaker Amanatullah Khan said three of his relatives had died of dengue and more than thousand other residents were unwell. “Every family in our neighbourhood has someone or the other unwell. How can there be only four deaths? Three of my relatives have died. I meet MCD officials every day and we are using 10 fumigation machines across the area,” Khan told HT.
Three deaths were reported from Shaheen Bagh’s D Block and almost every other lane has either lost a resident or is suffering from fever.
Area councillor Shoaib Danish is also learnt to have been down with fever. “Why is the government hiding the deaths when they should be identifying the problem and solving it?” asked 30-year-old Mohammed Javed, who lost his four-year-old daughter to the disease on September 12, two days after she was hospitalised with fever.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, however, continues to live in denial. “We declared four deaths because the case history of all other deaths has been sent to a committee probing the cause of death. The final reports are yet to come out,” said SDMC additional commissioner (Health) Meeta Singh.