Patna: Police in Bihar have arrested three people accused of masquerading as doctors and performing tubectomies (sterilisation procedures) on as many as 53 poverty-stricken rural women in just two hours and "playing with their lives."

Those arrested have been identified as ‘volunteers' of an NGO who were conducting the operations on Saturday evening without giving anaesthetic to the women who had come for the family planning operation, hoping to receive cash at the end.

Police said the condition of several women deteriorated in the course of the operation and they had to be moved to government hospitals. Local media has reported how many of the victims writhed in pain as the alleged doctors continued performing the surgery without anaesthetic.

Health camp

"We have arrested three youths for playing with the lives of dozens of poor innocent women," the district superintendent of police, Araria, Shivdeep W Lande told the media yesterday.

He said many of the victims operated on at the free health camp were in a poor state and had to be moved to district hospitals.

"What was horrible was that the medicines supplied to the victims were post-expiry dates. This is like playing with the lives of innocent villagers; we are not going to spare them," the superintendent said.

Local villagers told him what was going on and he went to investigate, he said. Police say the women had been lured to the camp with the promise they would be paid Rs600 (Dh41) but they were given only out-of-date medicine.