As the death toll in the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) rises to 181, the Bihar Police under CM Nitish Kumar has registered cases against 19 people of Harisvanshpur village in Vaishali district alleging that they caused ruckus and incited violence. Moreover, funds worth 481 crores allocated for child development has not been used by the state government.
Republic TV investigated the matter and met the individuals in the Vaishali district of Bihar. The investigation found that the case was registered against random people, one among them being differently able. The people of Harivanshpur village protested on the national highway when they were booked for disrupting the road.
A person booked said: "They have done FIR against them, what to do, they will demand a bribe for deleting the name from the FIR list. We lost children, we don't ave water facility here. What to do." The villagers allege that Station House Officer is responsible for the harassment of the BPL families as the villagers have protested against him.
CM Nitish Kumar had visited Muzaffarpur on June 18 by chopper, however, these villagers were protesting on road thinking that the CM will travel by road and they will tell him their problems. FIR was lodged against them following the incident.
In the village of Harivanshpur in the district of Vaishali, the families were running away from their villages due to lack of medical facilities during the outbreak of AES.
Rajesh Sahni from Harivanshpur village in Vaishali said while speaking to Republic TV:
"5 children at my home are ill. I took 3 of them to Kejriwal hospital. But the doctor said that they have already admitted 80 children and there is no place. So I am writing a prescription, go and fetch medicine from the chemist. We cannot admit the children here and if we do, then they will be treated on the floor. Use a local doctor to give him saline water. So my children are at home and are being treated in huts. We are curing them here."
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Modi have been silent about the Encephalitis outbreak, with the former slamming the media saying it to 'stay in limits' and the latter asking reporters to 'leave the press conference if they want to ask about the death of the children'.
Union Minister for State for Health Minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey evaded the media on the issues of the deaths of children in Bihar due to encephalitis on Saturday. Similarly, state health minister Mangal Pandey also evaded questions when asked about the skeletal at the hospital premises. Earlier during the first press conference by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, former was found sleeping whereas the latter was asking the score of the India Pakistan World Cup match.
In a bizarre claim, Prem Kumar, Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Bihar said that the entire Encephalitis outbreak due to eating litchi reasoning is a conspiracy against 'litchi'. Another minister of the Nitish Cabinet trivalised the issue saying that 'no one is permanent'.
When asked Dr Harsh Vardhan about the steps taken, he had said while speaking exclusively to Republic TV,
"Indian government is supporting the state in giving good treatment to the patients to contain the infection and is providing with pediatricians, epidemiologists, specialists, ICMR experts. When I had taken charge as Union Health Minister, within 4-5 days I had dispatched these facilities to tackle the epidemic as soon as early cases had been reported," he said.