Members of the Indian Youth Congress and Bihar Congress unit on Thursday staged a demonstration near Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan's residence here over the deaths of children in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).
Demanding the resignations of Harsh Vardhan and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the protesters chanted anti-government slogans. The demonstrators were later detained by the police.
"The government is sleeping. Even the Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is sleeping. At least for the sake of the children, he should come out from his house and take action against those responsible for this. This is a shameful incident," Mumbai Youth Congress chief Suraj Thakur told ANI.
"Nitish Kumar is also silent on this issue. He does not even speak to the media when asked about the incident. Nitish Kumar and Harsh Vardhan should resign," he added.
The death toll due to AES has mounted to 132 in the Muzaffarpur district, officials said on Wednesday.
Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), which is handling the largest number of patients in the district, reported 111 deaths while there were 21 deaths in Kejriwal Hospital.
The Bihar government had announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the children who died due to AES. It also directed the health department, district administration and doctors to take necessary measures for the containment of the disease.
Breaking his silence on the encephalitis deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called it "unfortunate and a matter of shame for the nation".
While replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President's address in Rajya Sabha, the Prime Minister said that he was in constant touch with the Bihar government and added that a collective solution would arise soon to end the crisis.