India’s main opposition party has called a general strike in central Chhattisgarh state where 13 women have now died after botched sterilization surgery at a state-run health camp.
Sixty women remain in hospital and at least 20 are in a critical condition following the tubectomy operations.
A team of doctors from the capital, Delhi, are being flown to the state to help out with the emergency.
Health camps are staged throughout India to control its huge population.
The Chhattisgarh government has ordered an inquiry into the deaths and Chief Minister Raman Singh has said “it appears the incident occurred due to negligence” by doctors.
The victims’ families, all from poor families, each have been promised a compensation of about $6,600.
Four senior health officials have been suspended and a police complaint has been registered against the surgeon who performed the operations.
The Congress party in the state has held protests and called a general strike to demand the resignation of the chief minister and Health Minister Amar Agrawal.
The shutdown is being supported by the state’s chamber of commerce and several other organizations.
The tubectomies were carried out on 83 women on Saturday in Pendari village in Bilaspur district. According to government rules, one surgeon should only perform 35 operations in a day.
Doctors say their condition keeps fluctuating rapidly, and it is hard to say if anyone is out of danger.
A team of four doctors from Delhi’s premier AIIMS hospital (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) is on its way to Chhattisgarh to help with the treatment of women admitted to four hospitals there.
Chhattisgarh health officials have denied any responsibility for the deaths, but some suggested that medics were under pressure from the authorities to perform too many sterilization operations in too little time.
Preliminary examinations showed the deaths had been caused by infection or shock as a result of blood loss, state deputy health director Amar Singh told the Press Trust of India news agency.
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At least 12 people have been killed in the eastern Indian state of Chhattisgarh by two bombs planted by suspected Maoist rebels as voting continues in the general election.
The first blast hit a bus carrying election officials in Bijapur district, police said, killing seven.
The second attack – half an hour later – killed five police in an ambulance in the Bastar district.
India began five weeks of general election polling last Monday.
Officials said the bus in Bijapur district was blown up by a landmine as it travelled between Gudma and the town of Kutru. Four people were injured.
Polling began in part of in Chhattisgarh on April 10 and continues with two further rounds in the coming weeks
Several people were also injured in the separate attack on the ambulance, which took place in the village of Kamanar, election officials said.
Maoist rebels have staged frequent attacks over several decades across a swathe of India in their campaign for the poor to have a greater share of India’s natural resources.
Chhattisgarh has seen some of the worst violence. Polling began in part of the state on April 10 and continues with two further rounds in the coming weeks.
Elsewhere, voting resumed in the fourth stage of the general election on Saturday in four states – Goa, Assam, Tripura and Sikkim.
Sikkim, a tiny Himalayan state, is also holding local elections, including the contest for a seat in the regional assembly which is reserved for a Buddhist monk.
The first key day of polling saw millions of Indians vote on Thursday in 14 states.
The governing Congress party, led by Rahul Gandhi, is pitted against the main opposition BJP, led by the Hindu nationalist, Narendra Modi.
However, the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi (Common Man’s) Party, with its stronghold in the capital, Delhi, is mounting a strong challenge.
More than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in the polls, which opened on April 7.