Armed forces

Haryana Government to Probe Whether Kargil Martyr’s Widow Was Denied Medical Care Due to Aadhaar

The private hospital in Sonipat where the woman was taken has denied the allegations made by her son.

Tulip hospital in Sonipat. Courtesy: Practo

Tulip hospital in Sonipat. Courtesy: Practo

New Delhi: Even as Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday (December 30) assured an inquiry into the death of the widow of a Kargil martyr, the incident has evoked a strong response from the opposition parties, common citizens and other families of martyrs. Shakuntala Devi was allegedly denied admission to a private hospital in Sonipat district because she was not carrying her Aadhaar card.

Talking about the incident to news agency PTI, Pawan Kumar Balyan, her son, said, “Shakuntala Devi (55), widow of Kargil war martyr Havaldar Laxman Dass, died on Thursday for want of medical care at a private hospital as it insisted on having the patient’s Aadhaar card.” Dass was posted with the 8th Jat Regiment in Muskoh valley near Kargil and died of bullet injuries on June 9, 1999.

Stating that his mother was suffering from a heart ailment, Balyan, a resident of Mahlana village in Sonipat, said he had taken his mother to the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) Hospital in Sonipat and got the referral slip for Tulip Hospital on Thursday.

However, he accused the private hospital of turning his mother away as the family was not carrying her Aadhaar card with them. “At the counter of the hospital, the authorities asked me to give the Aadhaar card of my ailing mother so that she could be admitted for treatment. I told them that I have forgotten it and will get it soon from my home, and requested them to start the treatment. But the hospital authorities insisted on providing the Aadhaar card.”

With the hospital authorities not relenting, Balyan added, “After about half an hour of argument with the hospital authorities, I decided to leave the place with my mother.” He also charged that the hospital authorities had called up the police, who asked him not to create a scene in the hospital premises.

Stating that he took his mother back to ECHS Sonipat, “where she died the same evening”, Balyan said he later gave a written complaint about the matter to ECHS authorities who visited his house.

The news agency said Abhimanyu Kumar of Tulip Multispeciality Hospital, Sonipat, had a different version to he story. It said Kumar admitted that the hospital insists on Aadhaar cards, but denied the allegations that they were not ready to admit Devi. “We wanted to treat the woman, but her family members decided to take her away,” Kumar was quoted as saying.

Policeman Srikrishan, who was at the spot when the incident took place, said the hospital authorities had requested Balyan to get the ailing woman admitted.

While Balyan had also accused the police of showing a partisan attitude towards the hospital and not listening to him, the police personnel who attended to the hospital’s call, Srikrishan, maintained that the hospital authorities had requested Balyan to get the ailing woman admitted. “Balyan seemed upset by the attitude shown to him by the hospital staff and preferred to leave with his mother,” he was quoted by the agency.

Following the incident, Haryana health minister Anil Vij said a team of health department has been sent to Sonipat to collect the details of the incident.

Meanwhile, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said he would get the matter probed and assured that the guilty would be punished.

However, the incident has left the families of other martyrs shocked and angry.

V.N. Thapar, father of Kargil martyr Vijayant Thapar, lamented that people have become so “indifferent to human life”.

Meanwhile, daughter of another Kargil martyr, C.B. Dwivedi, said what had happened was scary and made her worried for her family.

The issue had also evoked a strong response from political circles. Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury charged that people were “dying due to Aadhaar” which was pushed through by the Narendra Modi government as a money Bill, ignoring all the proposed amendments.