Pune: Reacting strongly to the statement of Ghulam Nabi Azad where he blamed Pune’s Reeda Sheikh for spreading the swine flu virus to 85 people, the girl’s family on Sunday asked the Union Health Minister to either apologise to them or resign from his post for making “insensitive remarks”.
Speaking to reporters here, the family of the 14-year-old girl who became India’s first victim from A(H1N1) virus, instead blamed the authorities for being slow in taking corrective action and not releasing any information regarding the symptoms of the pandemic.
“The Health Minister says Reeda spread the infection to 85 people… I am her mother and I am negative. What does he have to say about it,” Reeda’s mother said.
“My daughter is a martyr. It is only after her death that the government has become serious about the swine flu outbreak. My daughter sacrificed her life for the country. It is only after her death that so many people are going to hospitals to get themselves checked for A(H1N1) virus,” she further added.
The family further told the Health Minister not to make any more statements and asked the government to detail the actions they have taken after the family filed an FIR against the erring private hospital and doctors in Pune for medical negligence in Reeda’s case.
“Azad is sitting in New Delhi and making statements. He did not even bother to visit our family,” the girl’s family said.
The Sheikh family further rejected the claim that Reeda had gone to three hospitals and called it a mistake on doctors’ part who failed in detecting the infection in her body instead termed it pneumonia.
The family further flayed the government for calling the outbreak of the pandemic in India as “minimal”. Even if lakhs die in India due to swine flu it would still be minimal, the family said sarcastically.