Even as the death toll rises in the state of Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar visited Muzaffarpur hospital allegedly with more than 100 supporters. The death toll in the state has risen up to 170 on Saturday, June 22, as per reports.
As Republic TV confronted the former JNU student union president who was allegedly followed by around 100 to 150 supporters and asked why is he showing such a show of strength even when children are dying.
Kumar initially evaded the question and later said: "I have come alone, I have not come with supporters. This is a hospital and therefore pray here, don't talk."
(Mai akele aaya hun. Mai kisi ke saath nahi aaya. Ye hospital hai, yaha prarthana kijiye, koi bat mat kijiye)
As the former JNU student union president's visit allegedly created a ruckus in the already deteriorated condition of the SRI Krishna Medical College and Hospital, relatives and health workers outside the hospital protested against him. One of the supporters said that if Kanhaiya Kumar's visit is not political, then he should have carried a bottle of water, juice or anything that would be of help to the patients. Others said that Kumar had such a huge trail of people along with him that even sweepers and other hospital staffs were finding it difficult to do their work smoothly.
In the visual, Kanhaiya can be seen surrounded by supporters while walking through the corridor of the hospital. Anger against Kanhaiya Kumar's insensitive gesture was apparent outside the hospital where people protested against him.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy CM Sushil Modi have been silent about the issue, 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'.
In a shocking development, gates of the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital was shut from the morning of June 20 and patients were not allowed inside the hospital. This was done to provide VVIP treatment to LJD leader Sharad Yadav who came to visit the patients in the hospital by unsealing the gate for him and then sealing it again. Patients' family and kin allege that VVIP treatment and visit by ministers further hamper the proceedings in the hospital.
Moreover, in a bizarre claim, Prem Kumar, Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Bihar said that it is a conspiracy against 'litchi'.
Republic TV also asked the Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan about the steps taken by the Centre to combat the disease that has been in the state for many years.
"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.