UP admits: 34 children died in Muzaffarnagar riot relief camps

Muzaffarnagar campDeaths blamed on pneumonia, dysentery, premature birth

Three days after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav sparked outrage with his remark that those still in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar were not riot victims but people being instigated by the BJP and Congress, a committee appointed by the Uttar Pradesh government has found that as many as 34 children from the relief camps have died since September 7.

The committee, headed by Meerut divisional commissioner Manjit Singh, was formed earlier this month after the Supreme Court directed the state government to probe the death of children at relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts — this was first highlighted by The Indian Express.

But the committee, which included district magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli, did not hold any official accountable. Nor did it report lack of facilities at the relief camps that could have played a role in the children taking ill.

Principal Secretary (Home) Anil Kumar Gupta on Thursday said that the inquiry report, submitted to the government on Wednesday, found that 34 children "whose parents have been living at the relief camps" died between September 7 and December 20.

He said some children died while being treated at hospitals in Kairana, Panipat and other places away from the relief camps but others died in the relief camps.

Gupta said there was no single cause for these deaths. He cited pneumonia, dysentery, fever and premature birth as causes for some of the deaths.

Asked whether all 34 children had taken ill while in the camps, Gupta declined comment. He said the committee did not report any lack of facilities or negligence by any government official.

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