New Delhi: Dr RK Gupta, who conducted 83 laparoscopic surgeries in just five hours in Bilaspur on Saturday, has been arrested. He was arrested late on Wednesday night from Baloda Bazar. Gupta, who was awarded by the Raman Singh government on January 26 this year for conducting a record number of female sterilizations, has already been suspended and is facing a FIR.
Meanwhile, a team of specialist doctors is reaching Raipur from Hyderabad. They will assist in the treatment of women. Fourteen women have died so far following tubectomies in two separate government camps within two days in Bilaspur.
One of them is a Baiga, a primate tribe protected by law. The government has banned the sterilization of these tribes. Alleging that these deaths amounted to“murders by the government,” PCC Chief Bhupesh Baghel has demanded the immediate resignation of Raman Singh. President of All India Mahila Congress Shobha Ojha has arrived in Chhattisgarh today and reached Bilaspur.
Female sterilization remains the most popular method of population control in India, where public health facilities often lack funding and fake medicines are rampant. The Chhattisgarh tragedy is one of the worst in recent memory from the one-day sterilization drives India regularly holds to keep its 1.2 billion population from growing too fast. Preliminary post-mortem results show no sign of infection from poor sanitary conditions, said Promod Tewari, the top government medical official in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, the town where the sterilizations occurred. That points to flawed antibiotics and painkillers that were given to patients after the surgery as the cause of death, he said.
Sterilization mishaps are common in India. From April 2010 to March 2013, the government paid about Rs.51 crore for 15,264 deaths or failed surgeries, Harsh Vardhan, who was India’s health minister at the time, told parliament on 18 July. Sterilizations are voluntary and couples choose between a tubectomy or vasectomy, he said.
Gupta said he conducted the 83 operations over about six hours, with each one taking about five minutes. He blamed the government for making him breach guidelines that limit a doctor from performing more than 30 in a day.