Zee Media Bureau
Lucknow: After former state chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, now Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) AK Gupta has stirred a controversy by claiming no one died of cold at the Muzaffarnagar riots relief camps.
Commenting on the report of a high-level panel instituted by the state government, Gupta said children died of reasons other than cold.
"Children have died of pneumonia, not of cold. Nobody can die of cold. If people died of cold, nobody would have been alive in Siberia," Gupta said.
"Most of the children who lost their lives are the ones who had been taken outside the camps for treatment by their parents or were referred to government hospitals for treatment," he added.
"The cause of the death of all these children is different with about four dying because of pneumonia while some others died because of dysentery and one due to premature birth," the official said further.
According to him, all the children had got medical attention and "it cannot be termed as medical negligence or incapability of the doctors".
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav meanwhile defended Gupta but asked officials to think before making comments.
“Whoever is going before the media, be it a representative of the government or from the party, that person should be cautious before facing the press,” Akhilesh said.
“We are talking to them (people in camps) to return home, but few want to take political advantage,” he added.
The panel had found that 34 children under 12 years of age had died at the relief camps. The children perished between September 7 and December 20.