In a bizarre claim amid Encephalitis outbreak in the state of Bihar that has claimed lives of more than 100 children, a minister in Bihar said that it is a conspiracy to defame litchi.
"There is a conspiracy to defame Litchi. Litchi got an international status. But now they are trying to defame litchi. I care for the feelings of the people and therefore I have ordered an investigation on this, " said Minister Prem Kumar of the Nitish government.
Prem Kumar is the current Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Bihar. He is a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly elected seven times from the Gaya Town assembly constituency. His insensitive remark comes even after the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) claimed more than 130 lives of children in the state of Bihar.
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.
A day earlier, in a shocking development in Bihar, 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.
As per reports, the death toll in Bihar has reached 140, with the administration under Chief Minister Nitish Kumar blaming it on excessive heat and humidity, hypoglycemia, eating litchis on an empty stomach. However, despite the disease affecting the state every year, the questions as to why the state or Centre failed to combat this illness remains unanswered.
The Bihar government on June 18 released a press note highlighting their observation on the AES outbreak. This came minutes after Bihar chief secretary Deepak Kumar said that the CM was satisfied with the facilities inside the hospital despite videos from inside the hospital suggesting otherwise.