BANGLADESH - Expressing utter dismay over stealing of newborn babies from Dhaka Medical College Hospital, the High Court yesterday ordered conducting a judicial inquiry into the "entire incident" relating to the stealing of a baby from the hospital on August 21.
The court ordered the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Dhaka to assign a magistrate to enquire into the matter and to find out the loopholes in the security of the ward concerned of the hospital and the administrative failure to protect the child on that day.
Issuing a suo moto rule, the HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman also ordered the police to provide protection to the parents of the missing child and to assist the magistrate in holding the probe.
The HC bench fixed October 20 for passing further order on this issue.
The court came up with the order and rule following a report published in The Daily Star under the headline "Baby stealing at DMCH: Culprit fled as CCTV went off" yesterday.
None of the 53 CCTV cameras at the hospital was in use when a baby was stolen on August 21, said the report.
The server station for the cameras remained shut for almost 12 hours from around 9:00pm on August 20, according to hospital employees. And the baby went missing around 7:30am on August 21, according to the report.
On August 20, Runa Aktar gave birth to twin boys around 5:00am at the hospital.
A woman posing as an attendant of a patient offered her services to Runa as the new mother was having difficulty nursing the twins, the report said.
Citing The Daily Star report, the HC yesterday observed that the child has the right to be protected by the state, but it has failed in this regard.
Two more children went missing from the DMCH during the tenure of its incumbent director Brigadier General Mustafizur Rahman, but no effective action was taken over those incidents.
Mentioning the reported incidents of death of around 2,700 children between late 80s and early 90s due to toxic paracetamol syrup, the court said the state machinery has failed to protect the children and to prevent adulteration of paracetamol syrup.
The HC extended thanks to The Daily Star reporters Shaheen Mollah and Emran Hossain for the investigative report.
The magistrate has to submit the probe report to the HC in four weeks.
In the rule, the court asked the authorities concerned of the government and DMCH to explain in four weeks as to why appropriate legal action should not be taken against them for their failure to protect the baby.
Secretary to the Ministry of Health, director general of Directorate General of Health Services, director of DMCH, head of its ward from where the child has been stolen, and its registrar have been made respondents to the rule.