I Am Being Made A ‘Scapegoat’, Says Doc Jailed For Gorakhpur Deaths, Insists He Is Innocent. (Read Letter)
He has been granted only one hearing in a sessions court but the court rejected his bail.
Dr Kafeel Khan, the prime accused in a case involving the death of children at a State-run hospital in Gorakhpur last year, has written a letter insisting that he is innocent.
His wife, Shabista, released the letter to the press recently. In the letter, the doctor has said that he has suffered “unbearable torture and humiliation” in jail and that he and the other accused are being made “scapegoats” for an “administrative failure”.
Khan was jailed on September 2, 2017, after the tragedy at Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Hospital and Medical College came to light. He has been granted only one hearing in a sessions court but the court rejected his bail.
“Sometimes I ask myself, am I really guilty? The answer pops out from the core of my heart. No, no. A big no,” he writes in the letter. [The text has been edited for clarity.]
Khan said when he received a WhatsApp message about the oxygen supply in the hospital getting cut off on the fateful night of August 10, he did everything a doctor, father and responsible citizen would do.
He claims in the letter that he called several functionaries of the hospital, asking them about the sudden break in the supply of liquid oxygen. “I have all the call records,” he writes.
He said he begged oxygen suppliers—Modi Gas, Balaji, Imperial Gas and Mayur Gas agency—to resume supply. He ordered 250 “jumbo cylinders”, paying Rs 216 for each from his own pocket, he claims.
He said he ran from ward to ward, drove from hospital to gas agency and gas agency to hospital to get the empty cylinders filled. He counselled the parents who lost their children. He also took the help of Armed Border Force (Sashastra Seema Bal, SSB) who worked with him for 48 hours straight, he writes.
Around 70 children died between August 7 and 13 after liquid oxygen supply was cut off at the hospital without prior warning. The hospital, despite repeated reminders, had not paid its dues of about Rs 65 lakh to the Lucknow-based private company Pushpa Sales, NewsClick.in has reported. The State government, however, has maintained that the deaths were not a result of oxygen shortage.
Indian Medical Association recently came out in support of Dr Kafeel and demanded a probe in the case. They said that the administration was solely responsible for the situation, according to an Outlook India report.
Dr Khan’s health has been deteriorating in jail. He is a heart patient and recently visited a government hospital after complaining of heart palpitations, The Wire has said in a report.