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NHRC seeks report from Odisha on Baleswar infant deaths

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, July 19:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha Health Secretary and Superintendent of Police, Baleswar to submit details including post mortem reports of the two infants, who allegedly died after taking oral polio drops provided by the local Anganwadi and Asha workers on January 20 last year.

NHRC_LOGO-2Acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Subash Mohapatra, the Commission asked the Health secretary and SP to furnish the report within six weeks so that it can hear the matter during its sitting to be held at Bhubaneswar during the second or third week of August.

“Let the Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Odisha be asked to submit within six weeks a copy each of the post mortem report, viscera & histopathological examination report and final cause of death of both the deceased children. The Principal Secretary also be asked to send a copy of the report to the Commission if samples of the polio vaccine were sent for chemical analysis in order to rule out any contamination,” said the commission.

It has also asked the government to furnish the reason, if no chemical analysis was made.

The commission has directed the Baleswar SP to apprise it of the status of the investigation of the cases registered in different police stations of the district and similar death cases, if any, in the district during that period.

It is to be noted that two infants – Satyajit Biswal and Manasi Mallick – died barely hours after oral polio drops were administered to them in the district on 20 January last year.

However, the post mortem examination report of Satya stated that death was suspected due to pesticide. The viscera was preserved for chemical examination.

In the other case, the report stated that Satyajit Biswal, who was chronically ill with diarrhoea and was grossly malnourished, have semi solid food particles in his respiratory passage along with collection of fluid in the pleural cavity.

As per the post mortem report, the cause of death was possibly due to aspiration of food particles leading to asphyxia. The viscera and body parts were preserved for chemical analysis and histological examination.