NEW DELHI: The Congress today held the Uttar Pradesh government "responsible" for the death of 30 infants at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur, demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and a probe by a Supreme Court judge.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited Baba Raghav Das Medical College in eastern Uttar Pradesh, along with party colleagues, expressed deep anguish over the death of 30 children, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, in a span of 48 hours.
Azad said the probe ordered by the state government and the suspension of the college principal is just "an eyewash" and demanded that the matter should be probed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
He said if the matter is properly investigated the state government would be found to be squarely responsible for the "gross negligence" that led to the death of infants. He also said that the truth would come out only if an all-party delegation held an inquiry and the report would come in a week's time.
"This incident took place due to the laxity on the part of state government. The state government is fully responsible for it. The chief minister, health minister and the health secretary must immediately resign and doctors should not be blamed for this," he said.
"The suspension of the college principal and holding of a probe by district authorities has no meaning and is merely an eyewash. This matter should be probed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and the report should come in 15 days time," he said.
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the chief minister and UP's Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh should resign taking "moral responsibility" for the deaths.
"There are clearly two dimensions to it, that of criminal culpability of all those who are responsible -- the hospital administration, the oxygen supplier and the district administration which is supposed to exercise superintendence over the hospital, and the other is the moral responsibility of the chief minister.
"While all those responsible must be charged with criminal culpability accounting to murder,...there is a moral dimension which the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and his health minister must take responsibility for and resign immediately," he said.
Taking a swipe at the Uttar Pradesh health minister, the Congress leader tweeted, "UP Health Minister only seeks votes in Lal Bahadur Shastri ji's name -he doesn't follow Shastri ji's high morals in politics... Shastri ji resigned taking moral responsibility for railway accident, @sidharthnsingh holds on to power even after death of infants (sic)."
Singh is the grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Health Minister Singh had yesterday told PTI, "The deaths of children were very unfortunate and the government will set up an inquiry committee to ascertain if any lapse has been there and if anyone is found guilty he will be made accountable."
He said that according to reports from the paediatric department of the hospital, 60 children died due to various diseases since August 7.
Singh, however, asserted that the deaths were not because of paucity of oxygen.