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Jehanabad girl died due to lack of health facilities: Political party

PTI Sep 12, 2018

The Bihar Congress unit in a strong riposte to the Centre which had blamed it for the death of a 2-year-old girl during the party-sponsored bandh against fuel price hike, claimed on September 11 that the death took place due to lack of primary health care facilities in the vicinity of her village.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) working president Kaukab Qadri made the claim through a statement on the basis of inputs received from two party office-bearers who were sent to the village of the deceased Gauri, where they met her father Pramod Manjhi. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had on September 10 slammed the Congress for the death of the girl as he had claimed the pro-bandh protestors stopped an ambulance and prevented the girl from getting timely medical attention.

He had asked whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi would take responsibility for the incident. "Our district unit chiefs for Gaya and Jehanabad, Chandrika Rai and Harinarayan Dwievedi, respectively, visited Bala Bigaha village in Bela block of Gaya district. It is a remote village located between two villages and inhabited, primarily, by Mahadalits," Qadri said.

"They offered financial assistance to Manjhi and made him speak to me over phone. Amid sobs, he told me that there is not even a single primary health centre near his village where he could have got his daughter treated. He could not afford a private hospital or nursing home so he was taking her to Jehanabad Sadar Hospital," the BPCC working president claimed.

"Manjhi also told me that reaching anywhere from his village was always a problem. With great difficulty he managed to get a three-wheeler, but his daughter died on the way," Qadri said. "The district administration of Jehanabad has itself made it clear that the death was not a result of any obstructions in Manjhi's way put by bandh supporters, false claims made by Union law minister in the national capital notwithstanding," he said.

"But the death, in fact, puts a question mark on the BJP-led NDA, which is in power in the state. What type of health services it is providing to the people? Chief Minister Nitish Kumar swears by the name of Mahadalits. Does he really care about their living conditions?" he said. 

"The girl had been suffering from dysentery since the previous day. The state government claims to have set up dispensaries in every nook and corner of the state. Why is there no such facility near Manjhi's village? And why, as we often get to hear, most dispensaries are not manned by doctors and equipped with a bare minimum stock of medicines?" the Congress leader said. "Instead of using the tragic death of a baby to score points over us, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies should introspect and do something for the very electorate whose votes they seek to achieve power," Qadri added.

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