Gorakhpur doctor Kafeel Khan held while trying to flee to Nepal

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Within weeks of being hailed as a hero for trying to save lives of children under treatment for encephalitis in Gorakhpur who died due to shortage of oxygen supply at the BRD Medical College, Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan, Head, Special Encephalitis Ward, was arrested by the Special Task Force (STF) late on Friday night. The death toll had, in the following three days, reached 68.

Police have charged suspended principal of BRD Medical College Dr Rajeev Misra and Manish Bhandari of Pushpa Sales Private Limited the company supplying liquid oxygen to the hospital for attempted culpable homicide (attempt to cause death) and criminal conspiracy.

The opposition had accused the government of using Kafeel Khan as a scapegoat and demanded the resignation UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh.

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Last month, over 60 children had died in Gorakhpur's hospital Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College due to the alleged lack of oxygen in the facility. So, the Gorakhpur court has issued a non-bailable warrant against him as well as six other doctors after the state government accused them of lackadaisical attitude and irregularities. The police tried to contact Dr Kafeel and also went to his residence in Basantpur before NBW was issued. Mishra and his wife Shukla were sent to 14-day judicial custody.

Khan, a paediatric and nodal officer of the 100-bed AES (acute encephalitis syndrome) ward in the hospital, has been accused of dereliction of duty and not informing seniors and the administration of the paucity of oxygen, which led to numerous deaths.

Mishra was suspended as principal of the medical college on August 12 after the deaths were reported. He had been hiding there after registration of a case against him. He faces charges of negligence and financial irregularities. There have been conflicting reports over Dr Khan's role in the tragedy ever since, with a section of the hospital administration and local activists claiming that he was being made a scapegoat in the case.

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