The Health and Social Welfare departments were issued a notice by the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on Tuesday, seeking detailed reports over the death of 877 newborns and 61 pregnant women in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Hearing a petition filed by Agnes Kharshiing, the MHRC has directed the Commissioner and Secretary, Department of Health and Additional Chief Secretary of Social Welfare department to provide answers to the allegations made by the petitioner.
The two departments are “to submit a detailed report on the matter so as to reach the state commission within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice for further necessary orders,” the Commission said in its order.
The MHRC also expressed deep concern with the matter which raises serious issues of violation of human rights as Article 21 of the Constitution mandates for protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen and right to life and health is a fundamental right and it is paramount duty of the state to protect and safeguard such right of any individual.
In her petition, Kharshiing, who is the president of the Civil Society of Womens Organization (CSWO), sought the intervention of the MHRC with regards to the death of 877 newly borns and 61 pregnant women in the state during the month of April till July, this year due to diseases other than coronavirus.
The Meghalaya State Commission for Women and the Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights were also hindered as opposite party respondents in the case.