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Bihar Acute Encephalitis Syndrome deaths: Rajya Sabha observes silence for a moment

A doctor examines a child, who is suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, at Kejriwal hospital in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on June 20, 2019.

A doctor examines a child, who is suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, at Kejriwal hospital in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on June 20, 2019.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu also converted a notice for suspension of business to take up the issue into a zero hour notice and allowed Binoy Viswam (CPI) to make a short submission.

The death of more than 130 children in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome figured in the Rajya Sabha on June 21, with the Opposition parties demanding that the government make an urgent intervention and pay compensation to families.

The issue first figured when Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu was reading out obituary references on death of former members as well as those killed in terrorist attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Opposition members demanded a similar reference be made for the children who died in Bihar.

Mr. Naidu first asked the Rajya Sabha Secretary-General to “take care of the Bihar thing” and bring an appropriate resolution. Such a reference was not listed in the agenda paper for the day.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu reads out obituary references in the Rajya Sabha on June 21, 2019. Photo: LSTV

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu reads out obituary references in the Rajya Sabha on June 21, 2019. Photo: LSTV  

 

But after making a reference to June 21 being celebrated as International Day of Yoga, he said that a number of children had died in Bihar and the House condoles their death. “We will stand in silence in memory of the children who lost their lives,” he said as members stood in silence for a moment.

Mr. Naidu also converted a notice for suspension of business to take up the issue of Bihar deaths into a zero hour notice and allowed Binoy Viswam (CPI) to make a short submission.

Mr. Viswam said the government has been calling the deaths an accident but “it should be called a murder”.

Officially 130 children have died but the number is as high as 180, he said, adding hospitals have no medicines and infrastructure to treat children suffering from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. Malnutrition and unsafe water is responsible for the deaths, he said, adding 24 lakh children die every year due to malnutrition. He sought urgent improvement in health system and medical infrastructure and payment of “adequate compensation” to families of victims.

Congress and other Opposition parties wanted a discussion on the issue but Mr. Naidu did not allow.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 10:37:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bihar-acute-encephalitis-syndrome-deaths-rajya-sabha-observes-silence/article28097457.ece

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