A woman gave birth to a still-born baby in an ambulance in Rajasthan after she was allegedly turned away from a hospital in Bharatpur. The woman's husband alleged that they were refused admission to the district hospital because of their religion.
The couple are residents of Sikri, near Bharatpur, in Rajasthan where five coronavirus positive cases linked to Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat and its gathering in Delhi last month have been reported.
The 33-year-old woman, identified as Praveena, went into labour and was rushed to a hospital in Sikri from where she was referred to the Janana hospital in Bharatpur.
Her husband, Irfan, said the doctors there asked them to go to a hospital in Jaipur -- around 187 km away -- even though she was in labour.
"My wife complained of pain, and I rushed to Sikri from where she was referred to the Janana hospital. I reached there around 8am but for hours I kept looking for a doctor, there was no one. When finally the doctor came, she asked as to what is my name, village...," Mr Irfan said.
"Later, one madam came and asked my name. On hearing my name, she said -- 'it implies you are a Muslim, you will not be treated here.' She asked some other doctor to refer us to Jaipur. We had not even crossed Bharatpur when my wife delivered the child in the ambulance and my baby died," he added.
After the tragic delivery, the ambulance returned with the patients to the hospital where the woman was finally treated.
The doctors said they gave Ms Praveena a blood infusion as her haemoglobin was low.
However, the collector said he conducted an enquiry into the incident and denied that the woman was refused treatment because of her religion.
The Congress government has also released a video of the woman's relatives who have denied all the claims. In the video, doctors are also seen questioning the patient whether she was treated with any bias, and she can be heard refuting the claim.
Dr Rupindera Jha of the maternity hospital in Bharatpur said the woman was given proper treatment when she was brought to the hospital.
"The woman was treated, she was bleeding profusely and the doctor prescribed an injection for that. After delivery, we saw the child has anencephaly which means it has an under developed brain which led to her aborting the child."
However, he did not give any explanation when asked why the patient was earlier referred to Jaipur for the delivery.
State Tourism Minister Vishvendra Singh, in a series of tweets, blamed his own Congress government for covering the truth.
"The jamaat (Tablighi Jamaat) most certainly has been hazardous to the entire country. However, it does not mean that citizens of the Islamic faith are treated the way a pregnant lady was handled by the doctors in Bharatpur Zenana Hospital. The local MLA is also the Minister of State for Health," he said.
Arvind Ji- there is not need to verify or recheck as I have all the videos. It is clear that the government is trying to suppress the truth. I am a cabinet minister and do not speak without proof. Please don't cover up. @SachinPilot@RajCMOhttps://t.co/u9ZPJSBpVu— Vishvendra Singh Bharatpur (@vishvendrabtp) April 4, 2020
Mr Singh also tweeted a video, saying: "The victim's bhabhi (sister-in law) clearly saying that the police is pressuring them to give incorrect testimony."
The victims bhabhi clearly saying that the police is pressuring them to give incorrect testimony. The accent is strong here but I am sure you can get the gist of it. I am shocked at the #police. @RajCMO@TabeenahAnjumpic.twitter.com/xo8hrtxnTI— Vishvendra Singh Bharatpur (@vishvendrabtp) April 4, 2020
State Deputy Health Minister Subhash Garg, who is also the Bharatpur MLA, said the matter is being investigated by a team of the district administration, according to news agency PTI.