Bhubaneswar, Aug 9 :
Facing a barrage of criticism over the death of a minor Dalit girl, who was set ablaze after attempted rape, Odisha Health Minister Damodar Rout today blamed protestors for creating a disturbance near the ICU where the 14-year-old breathed her last.
“The girl was alive though critical when she entered the ICU at the Capital Hospital. She breathed her last after some time,” Rout told reporters, rejecting allegations of negligence on the part of the state government.
“I suspect loud noises near the ICU could have had some adverse impact on the health of the victim,” he said.
The minister said the girl’s ambulance was chased by protestors who went up to the ICU and shouted at the top of their voices.
“I have a great suspicion that the noise near ICU worsened her health condition and she died,” Rout, a veterinary doctor, said.
He said the state government had been very sensitive and attentive towards the girl, adding, “It is a matter of investigation whether the noise made by protestors led to the girl’s sudden death.”
Rout said the girl was admitted to the burns unit of the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack on July 28 with over 65 per cent burns and was later shifted to the plastic surgery ward.
When her condition became critical and she faced breathing problems, a medical board decided to shift her to Safdurjung Hospital in Delhi and accordingly an Air India flight was kept ready to airlift her.
“Unfortunately, her condition became worse, forcing doctors to rush her to the ICU of the Capital Hospital,” the minister said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announed that the girl’s medical expenses would be borne by the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Rout said, adding that her treatment was the responsibility of the medical authority.
The girl, a Class VII student from Kharinasi village under Mahakalpara block in Kendrapara district struggled for survival for 12 days at the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack after being set ablaze on July 28.
21-year-old Eakadashi Das and 20-year-old Pradip Das were arrested for setting the girl ablaze and for attempted rape, sub-divisional police officer, Human Rights cell, Kendrapara, Shantanu Kumar Padhee said.(PTI)