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Doctor arrested: At least 13 dead after he sterilised 83 women in India

​At least 13 women died after an Indian doctor (below) sterilised 83 of them in less than three hours on Saturday.

Now Dr R. K. Gupta has been arrested.

The doctor has performed 50,000 such operations.

Currently held in custody in the state of Chhattisgarh, he blamed adulterated medicines for the tragedy.

He also denied that his equipment was rusty or dirty, saying it was the government's duty to control the number of people that turned up at his family-planning "camp".

Dr Gupta added: "If they kept in that place 83 women, it is my moral responsibility to operate on all the women. If I decline to do that, I would have faced public agitation."

Besides the 13 deaths, scores more are still hospitalised and some are critically ill.

Some of the sick were operated on by a different doctor at a second camp on Monday.

Gupta said this was evidence he was not to blame: “I am not the culprit. I have been made scapegoat. It is the administration which is responsible for this incident.”

Operating tools were not rusty

He also said it was the government's responsibility to clean the clinic, which the police say was filthy.

However, when asked why he did not make a complaint, Gupta said the conditions were normal and he kept his equipment clean.

He had worn gloves and a gown. "They are dipped in spirit after an operation and then reused," he said.

"If I feel it is not working well, I change it. I do about 10 operations with the same knife. Towel clips are also reused after being dipped in spirit."

Protocols state that doctors should spend at least 15 minutes on each operation and perform a maximum of 30 in a day.

'Draconian'

India is the world’s top steriliser of women - and efforts to rein in population growth have been described as the most draconian after China.

Indian birth rates fell in recent decades, but the country's population growth is among the world’s fastest.

With more than 4 million Indians sterilised every year, activists say a system of quotas encourages officials and doctors to cut corners.

Rights groups say India’s sterilisation programme is coercive because ill-educated women are often offered money to accept surgery without knowing the full risks.

State government officials who run the programme are also pressed to meet quotas.

Source: Reuters

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