In a major development, nearly two and half years after their suspension from Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College, Gorakhpur, following the death of 30 children over an alleged shortage of oxygen cylinders, its then principal and a professor resumed work on Thursday.
Professor Dr. Rajiv Mishra has joined the pathology department as faculty while Dr. Satish Kumar joined as faculty in the anesthesia department after Governor Anandiben Patel's order.
The development comes at a time when a department inquiry is pending against them.
Mishra and Kumar returned to work on Thursday after a government order revoked their suspension, the current college principal Dr. Ganesh Kumar confirmed to media on Friday.
Current BRD Principal Dr. Ganesh Kumar added that though they have joined the medical college, the departmental inquiry against both will continue.
Commenting on the development, Dr. Satish Mishra's son, Purak Mishra, told news agency PTI: “I'm very happy that justice prevailed and after two and half years of struggle, my father has been reinstated at BRD Medical College. Both my father and Dr Satish Kumar joined on Thursday.”
The doctors were jailed after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against nine accused including Dr. Mishra and Dr. Kumar on August 23, 2017.
Dr Mishra was Principal of the college at the time and charged with Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Supreme Court granted him bail on July 3, 2018.
Dr Satish Kumar, stock in-charge and head of the anaesthesia department, was booked under Sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 466 (forgery of record), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and 471 (using as genuine a forged record) of the IPC and also under certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Allahabad High Court granted him bail in May 2018.
However, the suspension of Dr Kafeel Khan, who was a lecturer in the pediatrics department of the college at the time, is yet to be revoked.
He is presently languishing in Mathura Jail under charges of the stringent National Security Act (NSA) for alleged hate speech during a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
Commenting on the reinstatement, Adeel Ahmad Khan, elder brother of Kafeel Khan, told NewsClick: “The doctor who saved lives of children that night did not get reinstated and was instead made a scapegoat. Out of the four doctors who were suspended from BRD following the death of 30 children over alleged shortage of oxygen cylinders, everyone except Kafeel has been reinstated.”
"Though Dr. Purnima Shukla, wife of Dr. Rajiv Shukla retired in 2019, all her retirement benefits have been cleared after the Governor’s proclamation. But Kafeel, who was the junior- most doctor that fateful night, was not as liable. In fact he was suspended twice and not reinstated even once after suspension. I am unable to understand why this government is not treating him like others?" asked his elder brother.
Meanwhile, Khan is writing a letter to the Governor and also gearing up to meet her in person regarding Kafeel's reinstatement. "Like Mishra and Kumar met Governor Patel, I will also meet her in person and ask her to reinstate him," Shabista Khan, wife of the jailed doctor told NewsClick.