Eleven Indian women have died after undergoing botched sterilisation surgery at a government-run health camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
More than 50 others are in hospital – at least 20 are in a critical condition following the tubectomy operations.
Officials deny negligence. Four health officials have been suspended.
State-run sterilisation camps are held to curb India’s 1.3bn population. Most of those operated on are women – many poor and often paid to be sterilised.
The tubectomies were carried out on Saturday in Pendari village in Bilaspur district.
Villagers say 83 women – all between the ages of 26 and 40 – were operated on in just six hours by one doctor and his assistant.
Reports say the women started complaining of pain and fever, soon after being operated on. A relative described the conditions at the clinic as appalling.
“They just operated on them and left them. It’s a desolate place, there are no facilities there,” DR Shinde told the Associated Press.
Preliminary examinations showed the deaths had been caused by infection or shock as a result of blood loss, state deputy health director Amar Singh told the Press Trust of India news agency.