‘It’s a smear campaign, I was trying to help kids’, says Dr Khan on Gorakhpur tragedy
Lucknow, August 14: First, we witnessed a tragedy, where 63 children were "massacred" at a Gorakhpur hospital in Uttar Pradesh. It immediately triggered a "political blame game" and then emerged an inspiring story of a doctor who saved several children by ensuring supply of oxygen.
However, the tragic saga that unfolded at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College and Hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, did not end there.
On Saturday, Dr Kafeel Ahmed Khan, the nodal officer for the Gorakhpur hospital's department of pediatrics, was hailed as a hero on social media, as he spent money from his pocket to bring oxygen cylinders, after supply of life-saving cylinders were allegedly stopped over non-payment of dues by a company, to save the dying children.
However, on Sunday, the authorities removed Khan from his post, without giving any reason. Prior to his removal, a "smear campaign" against the doctor started on social media where he was alleged for dereliction of duty, running a private clinic and for posting derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few Bollywood actresses.
The doctor was also called a "traitor" because he belonged to the Muslim community.
Breaking his silence over the entire issue, Khan told reporters that he was targeted by vested interest groups.
"It's a smear campaign against me. I was only trying to help the children. I did everything from getting in touch with oxygen firms to ensuring prompt help to patients," he was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
However, officials at the hospital questioned his "intention" for helping the kids. "When we already had 52 cylinders in the hospital on the night of August 10 then what was the need to manage three cylinders from outside. The question arises why did he do it? Medical College did not declare him a hero. It was all created by media," KK Gupta, director general, medical education, said.
As per reports, after Khan realised that his hospital has ran out of oxygen cylinders on the night of August 10, he made frantic calls to his colleagues in private hospitals to ask them to arrange for oxygen cylinders.
Then he drove his car to fetch around 12 cylinders. He even spent Rs 10,000 from his pocket to buy the cylinders.
Speaking about being targeted for being a Muslim, Khan said, "I have seen campaigns on WhatsApp and Facebook targeting me for being a Muslim, I'd like to tell them, I am an Indian first, and what I did, I did because I am a doctor," he said.
BRD Medical College Dr Kafil, child specialist Statement In Gorakhpur pic.twitter.com/s7Xsag6G81— Bahujan Samaj Party (@BspUp2017) August 13, 2017
On Friday evening, reports came in that at least 30 children in the hospital died within a period of 48 hours due to the non-availability of oxygen supply. On Saturday, reports added that at least 63 children, including newborns, died in the same hospital due to oxygen supply crisis.