Sterilization Death Camps in Bilaspur: An Open Letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister by Concerned Citizens

[ This is a letter addressed to Raman Singh, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh by several concerned individuals and organizations regarding the impunity with which medical guidelines are put aside by professionals who enjoy the patronage and protection of the state government.]

We, the 138 undersigned individuals and organizations working across the country on health and women’s rights are shocked and dismayed that the case against surgeon Dr. R. K. Gupta has been dismissed by the Hon’ble High Court on grounds that “the alleged act committed by the petitioner was while acting in discharge of his official duty and admittedly no previous sanction was obtained before initiating prosecution case against him”.

The Anita Jha Judicial Enquiry Commission report has clearly pointed out that “It is evident from the facts that in the camps organized on 8.11.2014 and 10.11.2014 there was a breach in the important necessities hence the standard operating procedure were not followed. As a result of which the symptoms of infections were found in post operative female beneficiaries“. It further states that “On the background of deliberation of investigation point number 1 to 3, investigation committee has found following persons Guilty/responsible, functionary, during 08 and 10 November, 2014:- 4.1 For not following standard procedures and for medical negligence by immediate functionary Block Medical Officer, Takhatpur…………….and surgeon who conducted surgery in tubectomy camp at Sakri and Gaurella ( Surgeries were completed by the same surgeon in the both camps)”.

It is a pity that the case has been dismissed by the Hon. High Court purely on technical grounds, thereby denying justice to the bereaved families of those 13 young women who died in Bilaspur district, the many more women who suffered serious illness in hospitals and the many small children deprived of their mothers’ care.

However, the Hon’ble Court in its judgement has stated that “the respondents State shall be free to take previous sanction of the State Govt. in this regard if it still desires to prosecute the petitioner and in the event of obtaining sanction, they would be at liberty to further prosecute the petitioner. It is made clear that this Court has not given any opinion on the merits of the case as the prosecution case was not sustainable on the preliminary objection itself and the merits of the case is still left open to be considered and adjudicated upon at a subsequent appropriate stage if the situation so arises…”.

We therefore urge that your government put the wheels of justice back on track, and immediately give permission for prosecution of surgeon Dr. R. K. Gupta, to ensure that this case becomes a deterrent example for anyone who tries to subvert the Sterilization Guidelines. Since the judgment has given Chhattisgarh state the liberty, after according sanction, to prosecute Dr. R. K. Gupta, not doing so would amount to shielding him deliberately.

We are also very disappointed to note that the Chhattisgarh government has greatly reduced provision of sterilization services as a public health service in government facilities, forcing poor women to take recourse to the private sector at extremely high cost and a lot of inconvenience.

We would urge you to reconsider this decision and make these services available in the public hospitals both for men and women, while ensuring high quality and informed choice for those who opt for this contraceptive method.

We look forward to your active cooperation and support on these two issues.

Thank you.

List of signatories:

  1. Action India, New Delhi
  2. All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA)
  3. CommonHealth, India
  4. Ellora Vigyan Mancha, Guwahati
  5. Healthwatch Forum UP
  6. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement India)
  7. Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali, Karnataka 
  8. MASUM Pune
  9. Madhya Pradesh Maternal Health Rights Campaign
  10. National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights, India
  11. Right To Food Campaign, India
  12. SAHAYOG Lucknow UP
  13. SAHELI for Women, New Delhi
  14. Women Against Sexual Violence & State Repression (WSS)
  15. Abha Bhaiya JAGORI Rural, HP
  16. Dr. Abhy Shukla, formerly of SATHI, Pune
  17. Afaq Ullah, Awadh Peoples Forum, Faizabad UP
  18. Ajay Mishra, Krishna Vikas Evam Prakriti Prabandhan Sanstha, MP
  19. Amar Jesani, Editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics
  20. Amita Pitre (Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Scholar, Emory University, Atlanta) Research Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  21. Anant Phadke, AIDAN
  22. Anubha Rastogi, Human Rights Lawyer and Member, NAMHHR, Mumbai
  23. Anuradha Kapoor, SWAYAM Kolkata
  24. Anupama Potluri University of Hyderabad Telengana
  25. Dr. K. R. Antony, Former Director, State Health Resource Centre, Chhattisgarh
  26. Arun Tyagi, Gram Sudhar Samiti, MP
  27. Arundhati Dhuru, NAPM
  28. Ashok Sahkya, Youth Club, Datiya
  29. Asim Sircar, Gyan Vigyan Samiti
  30. Avnish Kumar Mishra, Avadh Kishor Shiksha Samiti, MP
  31. Dr Babita Vijpuriya, Gahoi Mahila Mandal, Datiya, MP
  32. Bharat Kant Dvivedi,Jayati Jan Seva Samiti, MP
  33. Bhola Rajak, Manav Vikas Seva Samiti, Rewa
  34. Bindhulakshmi P, Associate Professor TISS
  35. Dr Bittu Karthik, WSS, Sonepat Haryana
  36. Dr Brajaraj Sundar Ghosh, Regional Programme Monitor, Clinical Development Services Agency
  37. Chhaya Datar (retd Prof.) TISS
  38. Chhaya Pachauli, PRAYAS Rajasthan
  39. Chinu Srinivasan, LOCOST
  40. C. Sathyamala, MFC
  41. Deepa V, SAMA Delhi
  42. Deepak Kumaraswamy, Mysore Karnataka
  43. Deepika Joshi, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Chhattisgarh
  44. Dhruv Bhai, Kisan Kamgaar Parishad, Rewa
  45. Denny John, Associate Editor, International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (IJTAHC)
  46. Devika Biswas Healthwatch Forum Jharkhand
  47. Dhruv Mankad, Pune
  48. D.S. Singh Sadbhawna Gramin Vikas Sansthan, Basti UP
  49. Gabriele Dietrich, Pennurimai Iyakkam, Tamil Nadu
  50. Geetha Nambisan, JAGORI Delhi
  51. Dr. Goldy M. George, Activist, Researcher & Writer, Chhattisgarh
  52. Himshi Singh NAPM Delhi Secretariat Delhi
  53. Hridayesh Singh, Poshan Abhiyan Manch, Rewa
  54. Ilina sen, Professor, Womens Studies, TISS, Mumbai
  55. Imrana Qadeer, retd Prof. JNU
  56. Indira Chakravarthi, Public Health Researcher
  57. Jashodhara Dasgupta, New Delhi
  58. Jiban Krushna Behara, SODA Odisha
  59. Johanna Lokhande
  60. Dr. J. R. Narayan, Patrakar Nagrik Manch, Rewa, MP
  61. Kalyani Menon Sen, Feminist Learning Partnerships, Gurgaon
  62. Kajal Jain, MASUM Pune
  63. Kamlesh, BGVS Uttarakhand
  64. Kedar Rajak, Sanjivani Vikas Samiti, MP
  65. Krati Sharma, New Delhi
  66. Madan Pal Singh, SARATHI Development Foundation Lucknow
  67. Madhurima Nundy, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi
  68. Madhuri, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, M.P
  69. Madhuri Lata Singh, Mandakini Manav Kalyan Gram Vikas Evam Takniki Sansthan, MP
  70. Manju Singh, Amrita Seva Sansthan, MP
  71. Mary E John, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi
  72. Meera Sanghamitra NAPM, WSS Telengana
  73. Mira Shiva, Initiatives for Health and Equity in Society
  74. Mohit P. Gandhi, PhD Student, JNU
  75. Monisha Behal, North East Network
  76. Dr. Mohan Rao Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  77. Dr. Narendra Gupta, PRAYAS Rajasthan
  78. Nayana Dhavan, Delhi
  79. Nisha Biswas, Kolkata
  80. Niti Saxena Lucknow
  81. Dr. Olinda Timms, Adjunct Professor St John’s Research Institute Bangalore
  82. Pallavi Gupta, Public Health Professional, New Delhi
  83. Paromita Vohra, Filmmaker and writer
  84. Prasanna Saligram SOCHARA Bangalore
  85. Pramod Tiwari, Manav Foundation Sheopur MP
  86. Puneet Narayan Shukla, Ananya Bahuuddeshiy Vikas Samiti, MP
  87. Pushpa Achanta WSS Bengaluru Karnataka
  88. Pyoli Swatija, Samajwadi Jan Parishad Delhi
  89. Radha Holla Bhar, Delhi
  90. Rajdev Chaturvedi Grameen Punarnirman Sansthan Azamgarh
  91. Rajalakshmi, Independent Researcher and PhD Scholar (TISS)
  92. Rajpal Singh, Parihar Pragati Sanstha, Datiya
  93. Dr. Ramji Rai, Swadesh Sanstha, Datiya MP
  94. Ramnivas Patel, Akanksha Grameen Vikas Samiti, MP
  95. Renu Khanna, SAHAJ and Commonhealth
  96. Ritu Dewan, Director Centre for Development Research and Action, Mumbai
  97. R Srivatsan, ANVESHI, Hyderabad
  98. Runu Chakraborty Ghaziabad UP
  99. S. P. Gautam, Jan Sahayak Samaj Sevi Sansthan, MP
  100. Dr. S.V. Nadkarni, Ex. Dean L.T.M. Med. College, Sion, Mumbai,
  101. S Maya, Sree Kerala Varma College Kerala
  102. Sadhna Dubey, Paramhans Seva Sasnthan Samiti, MP
  103. Sanjay Tiwari, Patrika News, Sheopur Madhya Pradesh
  104. Sarojini NB, People’s Health Movement, New Delhi
  105. Samir Dass, Jharkhand Science Forum, Ranchi
  106. Sanjeeta Gawri, Public Health Professional, Delhi
  107. Satnam Singh, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Haryana
  108. Saraswati Sahu & Neera Dehariya, Mahila Multi Morcha Chhattisgarh
  109. Sejal Dand, Director ANANDI
  110. Dr. Shakeel, CHARM Bihar
  111. Shalini Gera Advocate Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group Bilaspur
  112. Shampa Sengupta, Disability Activist, Kolkata, West Bengal
  113. Sheetal Sharma, North East Network, Assam
  114. Sheela Prasad, Professor, University of Hyderabad
  115. Sheshmani Shukla, Kisan Adivasi Maha Panchayat, Rewa
  116. Shewli TISS
  117. Prof. Shoma Sen RTM Nagpur University Nagpur
  118. Shradha Singh, Nari Chetna Manch, Rewa
  119. Shweta Sharma, Shubha Jan Kalyan Samiti, Datiya
  120. Suneeta Dhar, New Delhi
  121. Smriti, Sathiya Welfare Society Bhopal, MP
  122. Sr Chaturvedi, Bal Pragati Sanstha, MP
  123. Sudha Bharadwaj, General Secretary, Chhattisgarh PUCL
  124. Dr. Suresh S., Convenor, Prajarogya Vedika, AP
  125. Sulakshana Nandi, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Chhattisgarh
  126. Sunita Bandewar. Working Editor, Indian Jr of Medical Ethics, and Secretary, Forum for Medical Ethics Society. Pune, MH, India.
  127. Dr. Sunil Kaul, the Ant Chirang Assam
  128. S. P. Gautam, Jan Sahayak Samaj Sevi Sansthan, MP
  129. Tarun Mishra, Sadbhavna Seva Sansthan, MP
  130. Tultul Biswas Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch
  131. Uma Chakravarti, Retd. Professor DU feminist historian Delhi
  132. Uma Sen, Mamata Mahila Mandal, Sidhi, MP
  133. Dr. Vandana Prasad, Working Group for Children Under 6
  134. Veena Johari, Advocate Courtyard Attorneys Mumbai
  135. Veena Poonacha, Retd. Prof. Research Centre for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University Mumbai
  136. Veena Shatrugna, former Dy. Director National Institute of Nutrition Hyderabad
  137. Vinay Kulkarni, Prayas (Health Group), Pune.
  138. Vinaya Deshpande, Resident Editor, The Sunday Guardian, Mumbai

One thought on “Sterilization Death Camps in Bilaspur: An Open Letter to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister by Concerned Citizens

  1. K SHESHU BABU

    The decision of the court is disappointing. Many women were subjected to severe suffering by sterilisation in health camps. The doctors who performed operations were let off without punishment in most cases. Many women died due to unsuccessful operations.
    First of all, male sterilisation should be given prominence. Male family plannin operations are easier, safer and cause less side effects. The person undergoing such operation need not take long rest. Whreas women undergoing operations need longer rests, the operation is more complex and chances of side effects are very high compared to male. Sadly, male sterilisation percentage in india is very low.
    Hence, there is a need to conduct awareness programs explaining the advantages of male contraception. Camps for male sterilisation should be increased. Women sterilisation should be discouraged.
    The male hegemony is prime reason for such sufferings of women.
    The case must not only be reviewed and the doctor guilty punished, but also other doctors ( for example in Karnataka) should also be investigated and punished. The governments shielding doctors is deplorable. The movement should extend country- wide and address the problem in thebentire country

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