The group photograph of Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma along with others visiting Manchester going viral on social media.

There is no leave for doctors, nurses and paramedics in Assam due to outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE), but state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took a vacation to enjoy ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC), 2019.

While the doctors, nurses and paramedics have lauded the seriousness of Assam health minister regarding the JE outbreak, some of them have, however, questioned the sincerity of the minister, who reportedly went to Manchester for enjoying the India-New Zealand match on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a photograph of the Assam health minister posing with some other people went viral on the social media.

Also read: Assam health minister announces free treatment for Japanese Encephalitis patients

The group photograph which went viral on social media included Tuli Ram Ronghang, CEM of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC); Devajit Lon Saikia, general secretary of Assam Cricket Association and many others.

The photograph was captioned as “Himanta Biswa Sharma spotted at Manchester, England ahead of the grand Cricket World Cup Semi Final of India Vs New Zealand”.

Also read: Assam: Japanese Encephalitis death toll rises to 50

“We understand the seriousness of the JE and hence, everyone from the fraternity appreciated the government order to cancel the leaves. However, the minister’s visit to a foreign country just to watch a CWC match when the state is reeling under JE and AES leads us to think otherwise,” said a senior doctor on condition of anonymity.

“At a crucial time when 51 deaths and 190 positive cases of encephalitis reported across Assam, doctors on leave called back but our health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is seen roaming on the streets of Manchester (UK) along with his friends ahead of CWC semi finals between India and New Zealand,” tweeted one Manna Barbhuyan.

“Honourable health minister of Assam on the pretext of epidemic wants the health department to be on station and available 24X7 but he himself is enjoying match in England.

No FIR against him,” Tweeted another one.

It may be mentioned here that Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome have taken a serious turn in Assam.

According to the health department, 64 people have died of JE since January this year while there are still over 190 cases tested positive for JE so far.

Assam health minister Sarma in a press conference recently said the government had decided to keep on hold leaves for all doctors, paramedical staff and surveillance workers across the state due to outbreak of JE.

Sarma said that any kind of emergency leave will, however, be granted only with the prior approval of the deputy commissioner of the district and said that unauthorised absence from the place of posting even after duty hours will be treated seriously amounting to criminal dereliction of duty.

It may be mentioned that Himanta Biswa Sarma is also the president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI).

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