Srinagar/Lucknow, Dec 27 IBNS | 7 months ago

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday slammed Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary for Home Anil Gupta for saying nobody can die of cold.


"Can't die of the cold"!!!! Send him out in a few less clothes & let's see if he isn't singing a different tune pretty damn quick," tweeted Abdullah.

Reacting to children dying at Muzaffarnagar and Shamli relief camps, Gupta on Friday sparked a controversy by saying nobody can die of cold.

"The children at relief camps died of pneumonia, not of cold. Nobody dies of cold," said Gupta.

"If people could die of cold, there would have been nobody alive in Siberia," he said.

The Uttar Pradesh government has confirmed that 34 children have died of cold at Muzaffarnagar and Shamli in the relief camps for riot victims.

However, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the toll is at 40.

The NHRC on Thursday said it has issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary and the District Magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts over the death of 40 children in the relief camps.

The Commission has directed the officials to submit their reports within four weeks.

"The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that at least 40 children died in UP riot relief camps due to extreme cold. It is also reported that there were not enough blankets for the inmates of these camps resulting in the death of infants and young children in Malakpur, Suniti, etc. in Shamli district and Loi, Joula, etc. in Muzaffarnagar district," the Commission said in a statement on Thursday.

"The Commission has observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of infants and children and issued the notices to the Chief Secretary and District Magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts, Uttar Pradesh calling for a report within four week," it said.

"Reportedly, the tents are set up with three sheets of tarpaulin that makes the walls and no cover for the entrance, therefore, some blankets are to be tied together to cover the entrance. Most of the dead children were below 5 years age," read the statement.

Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav sparked a controversy by saying that the Muzaffarnagar riots victims are Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters.

"The people in the camps should not be called victims. They are conspirators and supporters of Congress and BJP," said Yadav.

(Posted on 27-12-2013)