The lack of medical infrastructure in West Bengal is once again in the news after reporters photographed almost 100 women, who had been sterilized, being made to sit in an open field after undergoing their operation.
According to reports, two doctors at the Manikchak rural health center in Malda district performed around 50 operations each, sterilizing the women. The women were then carried out to the open field even though they were unconscious as there was no room at the health center for them to recover.
Rules limit the number of surgeries that a single doctor can perform to just 25. The incident has attracted the ire of the state's Director of Health Services who said that there was no need to conduct all the operations in a single day and if there were just two doctors available, then some of the operations could have been conducted on the next day.
The National Human Rights Commission is also investigating the incident while the state government has demanded an explanation from the two doctors by Friday. Says health activist, Ratnaboli Ray, "Whatever we have seen is shocking and appalling. Contraception is a subset of reproductives right and we really have to look at it from a human rights point of view."