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A man who lost his vision after undergoing cataract surgery at an eye camp organised by an NGO in Gurdaspur district of Punjab being treated at an Amritsar Hospital on Dec 5, 2014. (IANS)

Eye Camp Tragedy: NGO Officers Missing, Untraceable

The office-bearers of the non-government organization, Guru Nanak Foundation, who are responsible for the tragedy happened in the free eye camp in Amritsar, are found to be missing and untraceable.

While Punjab Police team looked for them on Sunday, they were found missing. Punjab Police sub-inspector Sukhvinder Singh with seven policemen went to the NGO’s registered office in Amar Colony but found it locked. The director with his family members had left. A few other places were searched too, but in vain, the sub-inspector said.

The police were looking for the NGO’s director and other office bearers such as president, vice-president, chairperson, secretary, treasurer, and others.

Punjab Police officer Ajaypal Singh said they were looking for Hemvir, the director of SKM Sewa Sansthan, the NGO in Amar Colony here which organised the eye camp in a Punjab village where the surgeries were botched.

The Mathura police provided the backup and “we are now looking for the accused at various places”, he added. The NGO organised the eye camp for cataract operations in Ghuman village of Gurdaspur district in Punjab, where 29 of the total 49 people operated upon later complained of losing sight.

A government official claimed that half a dozen had lost their sight. A case was later registered against the NGO.

Police officials have said on Friday that the eye specialist Vivek Arora and NGO coordinator Manjit Singh were arrested. The eye camp’s organiser was arrested for not taking permission for the camp, and the doctor who performed the surgeries was also been taken into custody.

Meanwhile, the state government also announced interim relief of Rs.1 lakh to each of the affected families, whose members have lost eyesight in the tragedy.

While the camp took place without the permission in Ghuman village of the Gurdaspur district, paving way for the shocking incident, the Punjab government had ordered a probe into the free eye check-up camp. Meanwhile, Amritsar civil surgeon Rajiv Bhalla has said that they had no clue about the NGO that organised the eye camp as neither him nor his Gurdaspur counterpart gave any permission to hold this camp.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered a high level probe into the Ghuman medical camp tragedy. The state government has also banned holding of health camps without prior approval of civil surgeons in respective districts.

 

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