[Update] Apollo Hospital has confirmed that the chief minister of Tamil Nadu state suffered a heart attack on Sunday night and died at 23:30 local time (18:00 GMT) on Monday, reported BBC. Original story follows.
Jayaram Jayalalitha, the former film star and current chief minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was erroneously confirmed to be dead by multiple news publications in India. However, the AIADMK leader is currently in critical condition and alive, confirmed the hospital treating her.
Citizens of Tamil Nadu, a large southern state in India, as well as other parts of the nation, were shocked to see multiple established news publications prominently mentioning the chief minister of the state, Jayaram Jayalalithaa, had died of cardiac arrest. However, Apollo Hospital, the medical institution treating the national political party, AIADMK’s leader, issued an official statement confirming she is alive and has been put on life-support systems.
Apollo Hospitals’ management strongly denied the numerous media reports that claimed the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had passed away on Monday evening. In an official statement, the hospital management refuted all the “baseless and false” claims about Jayalalithaa’s death and noted that she is currently alive. They added doctors from both AIIMS and Apollo continue to monitor the chief minister “very closely.” However, the management noted that Jayalalithaa “continues to be on life support.” The management hasn’t issued any update about her health and continues to turn away reports seeking any information. As a cautionary note, the hospital advised news publications to “rectify the mistake” based on their press release.
Thousands of supporters have been making a beeline towards Apollo Hospital, which lies in Tamil Nadu’s capital, Chennai, since Monday morning. After the publications ran the incorrect story about her death, several minor scuffles broke out outside the hospital. However, they were quickly brought under control by several dozen armed police personnel stationed near the premises. Hundreds of women could be seen openly mourning Jayalalithaa’s alleged death.
Sixty-eight-year-old Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital after suffering, what the doctors described as, “acute lung infection.” The hospital attempted to accord privacy to their patient, however, the growing crowd outside that refused to budge, continually demanded updates. After several weeks, management of the medical institution noted she was being treated by “a team of experts, including cardiologists, pulmonologist and critical care specialists.”
Jayalalithaa was last publicly seen in early September and has been receiving treatment for months now. Her political party has been attempting to inspire confidence among her supporters and even hinted at her recovery last month, saying she had been “reborn thanks to prayers from her supporters.” Incidentally, the AIADMK chief suffered the cardiac arrest hours after her party, and she told media that she has fully recovered and will be returning home soon, reported the Indian Express.
The former film star has been the Tamil Nadu chief minister four times. Her political acumen is widely appreciated in the southern state of India. In fact, many local citizens deeply revere her and lovingly call her “Amma,” which means mother. Jayalalithaa is known to inspire extreme devotion, and as a result, law enforcement is concerned that any serious deterioration in her condition could set off riots and incidents of violence, reported BBC News. Additional police force has been deployed across the state of Tamil Nadu, and security has been beefed up not only at the hospital where she is being treated but also outside her official residence.
The controversy picked up steam because Jayalalithaa’s own political party mistakenly accepted the false death news. The party’s official flag was lowered to half-mast over her party’s headquarters. It has now been re-hoisted after the reports were retracted.
Before claiming the news reports about Jayalalithaa’s death were false, the hospital had asked the public to “pray for her speedy recovery”. NDTV, a local news channel, interviewed Richard Beale, who is part of the Jayalalitha’s medical team. Calling the situation “grave,” he said that “everything possible is being done to give her the best chance of surviving.”
[Featured Image by Saurabh Das/AP Images]