KOLKATA —- Around 100 women were dumped unconscious in a field after a mass sterilization in eastern India because there was no room in hospital for them to recuperate, medical officials said Thursday.
The women had all undergone surgical procedures at a hospital in West Bengal, around 360 kilometers north of Kolkata.
Officials have since admitted the hospital was not equipped to accommodate all of the women.
The scandal was exposed after news channel NDTV aired amateur footage of unconscious women being carried out of the hospital Tuesday by men and then left in a field.
The channel reports that two doctors performed more than 50 operations each, which is double the number permitted by law.
“If there are two surgeons, the operations could have been performed over two days. Why in one day?” asked Dr Biswa Ranjan Satpathi, the state’s Director of Health Services told reporters.
“Over 100 women, mostly poor, came to the camp for the surgery. Immediately after the procedure, the doctors asked the helpers to move each of them to the adjacent field,” Satpathi confirmed, adding, “This is inhuman and we have ordered a probe into the incident.”
Ratnaboli Ray, a health campaigner who was present at the sterilization camp, said some of the women were pushed into rickshaws after their surgery even though many were in no fit state to make any kind of journey.
“A woman sterilized in the hospital fell off the rickshaw on the way to her home and she had to be hospitalized with severe injuries,” Ray said.
“Whatever we have seen is shocking and appalling. Contraception is a subset of reproductive rights and we really have to look at it from a human rights point of view.”
The National Human Rights Commission is now investigating the incident, and the government has also demanded an explanation from two health officials and the two doctors by Friday, said Agence France-Presse.
India has no laws limiting the number of children a woman can have. But with a rising population that currently stands at 1.22 billion, the government offers incentives such as cars and electrical goods to couples who volunteer for sterilization.