Bihar Encephalitis Deaths: 39 booked for protesting against children’s deaths

Patna: In a heart-wrenching incident, 39 people were booked in Harivanshpur in Vaishali district on Tuesday after they protested the lack of water supply and death of several children due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in the area.

“Our children have died. We did a road gherao, but the administration has filed an FIR against us. Men against whom FIR has been registered have left the village and gone away. They were the only breadwinners,” said a relative of a person against whom the FIR has been registered said.

The fear of AES forced villagers in Harivanshpur village of Vaishali district to leave their homes.

Most families moved home with their children to other villages after the outbreak of the AES, also known as Chamki Fever in Bihar.

“My two sons died due to Acute Encephalitis in the matter of an hour. The elder one was 7 years old while the younger one was two years old. There were no awareness campaigns by the administration regarding the disease,” father of a child who died due to AES said.

The man also criticized Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and said: “The Chief Minister has done nothing to spread awareness regarding the disease. There are no arrangements in the hospital for children suffering from the disease.”

Another man said, “My seven-year-old daughter died. There was no arrangement from the administration regarding the disease.”

Another person said, “I have shifted my two children to another village as it is dangerous here. Other families have also shifted their children.”

The death toll due to AES touched 131 in Muzaffarpur district of the state alone on Tuesday, according to data by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).