Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused the Chhattisgarh government of trying to “cover-up” after he met the victims of botched sterilisation surgeries that have left 13 women dead and said corruption had a “role” in the tragedy.
“Truth is that it is not only a case of negligence. Here corruption has a role, fake medicines have a role,” Gandhi told.
After visiting the victims at their villages and hospital, Gandhi slammed the Raman Singh dispensation for “not taking responsibility” for the tragedy and demanded a thorough investigation.
The sterilisation surgeries at Bilaspur’s government-run medical camps have so far claimed lives of 13 young women and left nearly 138 ill.
“The camp was not run properly and so many people were harmed. The state government is not taking responsibility and in turn medicines are being burnt and there has been efforts to cover-up the matter,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi met family members of those who lost their lives and visited the hospital where the affected women are being treated.
“First thing, it should be found out what had happened. Certainly, something was amiss somewhere. The government is responsible and the Health Minister (is responsible),” he said adding, “I felt very sad. The entire family suffers when the mother suffers.”
The BJP government in Chhattisgarh has constituted a probe panel under a retired judge to investigate the botched surgeries.
The Congress has sought the resignation of the state’s health minister Amar Agarwal.
The minister, however, rejected the demand and added that the party will decide his fate.
“Whenever an incident takes place, it is the responsibility of the government . . . I take moral responsibility for the incident. There is no question of resignation. I don’t take decisions. It is for the party to decide,” he said.
He said that protocol set for sterilisation procedure has been violated.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh had on Thursday announced the setting up of a “transparent and unbiased” judicial probe into the tragedy while accusing Congress of trying to politicise the issue.