Paediatrician and activist Kafeel Khan, dismissed last month by the Uttar Pradesh government in connection with the death of 30 children because of oxygen shortage at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College and Hospital in 2017, was in the city to launch his book on Sunday.
The book is titled The Gorakhpur Hospital Tragedy — A Doctor’s Memoir of a Deadly Medical Crisis.
The disastrous condition of the healthcare system during the second surge in Covid prompted Khan to write the book, said Khan.
“In the summer of 2021, the entire country went through an acute shortage of oxygen. Three years ago, my hospital also went through a similar situation for over 48 hours. The second surge was an acute déjà vu for me,” he said.
Between the evening of August 10 and the small hours of August 13 in 2017, the children died at the hospital because of an acute shortage of oxygen. The vendor had stopped the supply of liquid oxygen because of non-payment of dues. Khan was suspended on August 22.
Khan says he had been falsely implicated and sent to jail by the Uttar Pradesh government as he had exposed the system. He has challenged his suspension in Allahabad High Court and the matter is pending.
The doctor spent eight months in jail in 2020 following his arrest over an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act speech at Aligarh Muslim University.
“My book is not only about me. It is also an account of the bereaved families. The book also tells the story of my family who had to go through hell because of the vindictive Yogi Adityanath government,” said Khan.
“In jail, I was denied basic human rights,” said Khan.
He said he had been in talks with several Indian publishers for the book. “But all of them wanted me to censor some of the writings,” he said.
The 300-page book has been published by Pan Macmillan. The book was first launched in Delhi, followed by Jaipur, before coming to Kolkata. Ranchi and Mumbai are the next stops for Khan.