Gorakhpur: Two more members of the marginalised Musahar community died in Dudahi block of Kushinagar district on Thursday, taking the toll to five in two weeks.
While the authorities maintain that disease claimed the lives of Bedami Devi (28) and Sudarshan (30), both residents of Sorahwa village, activists continue to harp on abject poverty and malnutrition as causes behind the mounting toll. Two quacks were arrested and as many auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) also suspended.
The recent deaths prompted BJP MLA Ganga Singh Kushwaha to visit Sorahwa on Friday. He denied starvation, but in the same breath conceded malnutrition and limited access to medicines.
“Under the current regime, the poor do not go hungry. The deaths may have been caused due to malnutrition or because the villagers have no access to medicines. The Yogi government is doing all it can to help the Musahar community,” he told reporters.
Kushinagar district magistrate Anil Singhdenied malnutrition in the recent deaths. “They died of illnesses,” he said without detailing on the type. DPRO Raghvendra Dwivedi indicated the possibility of water-borne diseases. “Water from hand pumps is being tested. Villagers have been told not to use water from hand pumps that are marked in red,” he said.
Social worker Umesh Gupta called the administrative measures mere eyewash. “The authorities must accept the real cause behind the recent deaths and fight it instead of misleading everyone with the claim of mysterious diseases,” he said.