Gorakhpur tragedy: RSS leader advises Yogi govt, BJP to do penance

Nearly 70 children, including infants, have died at the state-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College since August 7 due to various causes, including encephalitis.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 23:47 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Lucknow, Hindustan Times
RSS,Gorakhpur tragedy,Yogi Adityanath
This file photo taken on August 14, 2017 shows an Indian woman holding her child's hand at the encephalitis ward of the Baba Raghav Das Hospital in Gorakhpur. (AFP)

A Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader advised Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his ministers and the BJP to do a day’s penance over the government’s alleged mishandling of the spate of child deaths in a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur.

Prabhu Narayan, a 68-year-old retired government official from the Awadh region, posted on Facebook his suggestion and said he disapproved of Adityanath and his ministers shying away from accepting moral responsibility for the tragedy.

“Chahe doshi koi bhi ho, sarkar is hadse ki naitik jimmedari se nahi bach sakti. Iske liye poorey mantrimandal sahit bhajapa sangathan ko prayaschit karna chahiye,” he said.

(Irrespective of who is at fault, the government cannot escape its moral responsibility. Along with the government, the BJP too should observe penance).

A screen grab of the Facebook post.

The remarks are significant as it comes from a leader associated with the RSS, the BJP’s ideological fountain. Besides, the BJP government in UP is facing flak for the back-to-back 23 deaths in 24 hours last week that were attributed a shortage in oxygen supply.

The government initially blamed media for misreporting the Gorakhpur tragedy.

This was followed by a minister citing statistics of child deaths in previous years, something the RSS leader felt was done to hide this year’s tragedy.

“It’s true that the chief minister is well intentioned but the statistics given to save face don’t appear to be justified,” said the man who was a chief engineer with the state’s power corporation.

Narayan, groomed in the RSS that discourages public outbursts, refused to comment beyond what he posted.

He re-affirmed the need for the BJP and government to do penance and not look for scapegoats.

“Kuch ek logon ko sooli par latkane se kaam nahi banega (merely hanging some people won’t work),” he said.

The government suspended the principal of BRD Medical College on Saturday and denied reports that the deaths were because of oxygen shortage.

Child deaths were reported since January in the hospital, located in Adityanath’s constituency. But the more than 30 casualties last week triggered a political storm and a blame game.

First Published: Aug 16, 2017 20:59 IST