“Government should apologise”: Doctor Kafeel Khan over UP child deaths cleared

Two years after Dr. Kafeel Khan at a government hospital in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur was suspended, arrested and jailed for his alleged role in the deaths of over 60 children due to alleged oxygen shortage, a state government report has cleared him of all major accusations.

Dr Kafeel Khan has demanded an apology from the Yogi Adityanath government. “The tag of murderer, infamous Dr Kafeel has been removed,” Dr Khan told media after he got the clean chit.

” Those parents who lost their infants are still waiting for the justice.I demand that government should apologize and give compensation to the victim families,” he said.

“I would love to spend time with my kids. My daughter was 10 months old when they took me away. When I came back, she was not recognising me,” Dr Khan said . “Even today, if I have to save one kid, I’ll do it again,” he added.

Dr Kafeel Khan was posted as a pediatrician or child care specialist at the BRD Medical College in August 2017 when 63 children died in just two days, between August 10 and 11, allegedly because the oxygen supply to the children’s ward at the hospital, including critical care units, ran out.

After massive outrage and a visit by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to the hospital in his hometown, Dr Kafeel Khan was suspended. While suspending him, the Uttar Pradesh government said he had failed to take prompt action or warn his superiors about the impending crisis despite knowing about the situation.

The government had also claimed that Dr Khan was the nodal medical officer in charge of the crucial encephalitis ward at the hospital and therefore, would have known about any critical shortages. Thousands of children are admitted to the Gorakhpur hospital’s encephalitis ward every year.

An FIR was later registered against nine persons, including Dr Khan and the former principal of the medical college. On September 2, 2017, Dr Khan was arrested by UP Police and sent to jail.

Eight months after he was jailed, Dr. Khan was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in April 2018, with the court saying there was no direct evidence of negligence on his part.

Now, a 15-page government probe report handed over to Dr Khan on Thursday also supports what the High Court has said. The report was submitted to the state government in April 2019 by Himanshu Kumar, a senior IAS officer who was in charge of the investigation against Dr Khan.

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