INDIA ABROAD September 8, 2017 28 INDIA
By Hari Kumar and
— NEW DELHI
he chief of the medical
college where dozens of
sick children died this
month after the oxygen
supply ran out has been
arrested on charges of
culpable homicide, the Indian
authorities have said.
Dr. Rajiv Mishra, who had
been chief of Baba Raghav Das
Medical College in Gorakhpur
until he was recently suspended,
was arrested Aug. 29 along with
his wife. On Aug. 30, Indian offi-
cials disclosed that 386 children
had died this month at that hos-
pital, slightly above average.
Many people in India were
outraged by the children’s deaths
after it emerged that the hospital
had failed to pay its bills to an
Despite repeated warnings
from technicians within the hospital and from the oxygen supply
company, the oxygen supply was
allowed to dwindle to nothing.
Hundreds of children were in
the hospital at the time, many in
critical condition and on ventilators, and more than 60 died over
a period of days in mid-August as
the hospital’s oxygen supplies
Parents said they were given
plastic hand-operated resuscita-
tors to keep their children alive,
and they blamed the hospital for
High-ranking government officials insisted that the hospital’s
central oxygen supply system
was empty for only two hours,
and that the shortage was not a
factor in the deaths.
Several doctors at the hospital,
though, said some of the children
probably did die from the shortage.
“Dr. Mishra is under police
custody for interrogation, and we
are trying to arrest others,” said
Satyarth Anirudha Pankaj, police
chief of Gorakhpur, during a telephone interview Wednesday
In addition to culpable homicide, Dr. Mishra was charged
with cheating, criminal conspiracy and corruption by a government servant.
Dr. Mishra’s wife, Dr. Pornima
Shukla, a homeopathy doctor at
another government hospital,
was accused of acting as a conduit for bribes.
The police said they planned
to arrest more people in connection with the oxygen shortage,
including hospital account clerks,
doctors and executives of the
oxygen supply company.
Officials said that the children
who died in August did so from a
variety of ailments, particularly
encephalitis, which hits the area
hard every year during the rainy
season.Many children arrive at
the hospital at death’s door.
Doctors said it was not unusual
for more than 300 children to die
at the hospital during August.
Last August it was 364.
The Baba Raghav Das college
serves a huge area in India’s
biggest state, Uttar Pradesh,
where the government health
facilities are widely regarded as
corrupt and mismanaged.
The hospital provides treatment to more than 20 neighboring districts, some as far as 200
miles away, said Dr. K. P.
Kushwaha, a former administrator, in an interview this month.
— The New York Times T
Dr. Rajiv Mishra, Dr. Poonam Shukla of Gorakhpur charged in oxygen shortage
Medical College Head, Wife Arrested
he was courted by Indian politicians eager to win his support —
and by extension that of his
Recent images showed Singh
taking part in a cleanliness drive
with the Haryana chief minister,
who has been criticized for failing to prevent his supporters
from going on a violent rampage
after his conviction on Aug. 25.
Police say at least 38 supporters
of Singh’s Dera Sacha Sauda sect
were killed in the rioting that
broke out minutes after the verdict was announced.
By then Singh himself had
been whisked off in a government helicopter, accompanied
by his adopted daughter, and
taken to a jail in the city of
He had been chosen to head
the Dera Sacha Sauda — a controversial sect that describes itself
as pan-religious and has angered
Sikhs and Hindus — as a child
and formally took on the role
when he was 23.
Despite his larger-than-life
public persona, little is known
about Singh’s personal life.
According to his website, he
was born on Aug. 15, 1967, the
only child of wealthy parents in
“Soon, his parents realized
that he wasn’t merely a child but
the image of the lord. And thus,
they never hurt him physically
or verbally,” says his profile.
Singh is married and has two
daughters and a son. In 2009 he
adopted one of his female fol-
lowers, Honeypreet Insan, who
reportedly calls herself “papa’s
angel” and is thought to be his
He has sought to portray him-
self as a social reformer, promot-
ing vegetarianism, campaigning
against drug addiction and hold-
ing huge blood donation camps.
But he has antagonized other
religious communities, notably
the Sikhs. There were riots in the
Sikh heartland of Punjab after
Singh appeared in an advertise-
ment dressed like Guru Gobind
Singh, a revered Sikh guru.
Dark History Behind
India’s ‘Guru in Bling’
Above, in this iconic photo that went viral all
over the world in the pre-Internet era, a
pensive Diana, Princess of Wales, poses alone
at the Taj Mahal during her visit in India on
Feb. 11, 1992. This photograph was on the front
pages of most newspapers in the world.
Princess Diana’s lonely visit to the monument
to love came amid widespread rumors of her
failing marriage to Prince Charles, who
decided to be away in Bangalore for a
business conference the same day. Ten
months later, the royal couple announced their
separation. Left, Princess Diana talks with
Mother Teresa’s second-in-charge, sister
Lynne Frederick during her visit to the home of
the 81-year-old Nobel laureate in Calcutta on
Feb. 15, 1992. Below, Princess Diana bends to
chat to young traditional dancers as she
arrives in Hyderabad on Feb. 14, 1992.
Continued from page 26
Remembering Princess Diana on
her 20th Death Anniversary