Modi trying to cover up COVID failures

Humayun Aziz Sandeela

In order to divert attention from the miserable failures in dealing with the COVID-19 disaster in the country, Narendra Modi government may opt for an adventure like a false flag operation against Pakistan. The recent ceasefire violation along the Line of Control in Pakistan’s Charwa Sector opposite Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s Jammu Sector, in the wee hours on May 03 is a clear indicator of such an Indian design. During the course of the day, the Indian media continuously propagated fake news of Pakistan’s ceasefire violation in Ramgarh sector of Samba district, which also seems to be an indication of India’s frustration for its incompetence in tackling the corona crisis and diverting the attention of Indian populace from the core issue and playing the Pakistan card once again.

Diverting Indians’ attention is not a new thing or tool for Narendra Modi’s party, as it befooled them through Pulwama incident in IIOJK in 2019 and subsequently claiming a so-called victory through a surgical strike inside Pakistan. It has always been a norm in India that you put the blame of every ill happening in India on Pakistan. India’s firebrand media anchor, Arnab Goswami’s WhatsApp chat also revealed the dirty nexus between the Narendra Modi government and the Indian media and once again the media is toeing what Narendra Modi wants them to do.

The current corona crisis seems more serious than other crises Modi has faced so far. Until now, his claims of so called victory over Pakistan through a ‘surgical strike’ or that withdrawing almost all currency notes in circulation in 2016 punished corrupt businessmen — could never be adequately tested against reality, especially because Modi skillfully constructed each time an alternative reality with the help of a lobby of loyal journalists and social media trolls.

Once again New Delhi seems to be putting the same ploy into effect of using its loyal journalists and social media trolls to divert the attention of its population from the gross negligence on part of the Modi government from India’s devastating second wave of coronavirus pandemic.

Although the ceasefire understanding between Pakistan and India was widely appreciated as a good omen for regional peace however, since the ceasefire agreement between Pakistan and India on 25 February, 2021, the people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been bearing the brunt of Indian atrocities as usual. Indian troops launched 530 cordon and search operations in the occupied territory till April 30, martyred 31 Kashmiris and arrested 224. Prisoners languishing in overcrowded jails in occupied Kashmir and India are suffering from coronavirus and despite repeated appeals to either release or shift Kashmiri prisoners particularly Hurriyat leaders from Indian jails, Indian authorities ordered their shifting from the occupied territory to the Indian jails.

Besides killing innocent Kashmiris, in another act of repression against the Kashmiri people, India recently not only stopped supply of COVID-19 vaccine to the occupied territory but it also diverted the allocated medical stocks to other Indian cities. The criminal attitude of the Indian government in blocking vaccine supplies comes at a time when the valley has witnessed the highest spike in COVID deaths and positive cases ever since the outbreak of the pandemic last year. As many as 47 people died of Covid-19 while 3,832 persons were recorded infected with the coronavirus only on May 03.

In order to cover up its negligence in other parts of the country, Modi led Hindutva regime tried to stifle people in occupied Kashmir by stopping the vaccine quota for the territory and diverting the medicines meant for it. So why did New Delhi need the stocks meant for IIOJK as it had been receiving new stocks from different countries.

According to India Today, as of May 3, India has received emergency COVID supplies from 14 countries: UK, Mauritius, Singapore, Russia, UAE, Ireland, Romania, USA, Thailand, Germany, Uzbekistan, France, Belgium, Italy which has reached India to ease the country’s oxygen-related shortages, there is no clarity of whether distributing it to various states have begun or not it includes Oxygen Concentrators – 1,676, Ventilators – 965, Oxygen cylinders (Different sizes) – 1,799, Oxygen Cylinder Regulators – 1,023, Oxygen Cylinder Adaptors – 20, Oxygen Generating Plant(s) – 1, High flow humidify oxygen therapy devices – 20, Bedside Monitors – 150, BiPAPs, Coveralls, Goggles, Masks – 480, Pulse Oximeters – 210, Abbott Rapid Diagnostic Test Kits – 8,84,000, N-95 face masks – 9,28,800, Remdesivir – 1,36,000, Electric Syringe Pumps – 200, AFNOR/BS Flexible tubes – 28, Anti-Bacterial Filters – 500 and Machine Filters and Related Patient Circuits – 1,000.

These countries tried to help India at a time when people in these countries were dying of COVID-19 but there are no sign of oxygen or other assistance reaching out the people so where has all this assistance gone as on April 29, at the US State Department briefing, pointed questions were asked by a journalist about the COVID aid supplies to India and US government’s answerability towards US taxpayers’ money.

The reporter asked, “We are sending these planeloads of material to India. But our journalist in Delhi is reporting that even after trying for two days, he’s been unable to find out who is taking away the oxygen concentrators, medicines, or how much is arriving. There’s no website or transparent system where people can apply to get this. So this accountability for the US taxpayers’ money being sent, is there anything being done to check on how it is being distributed, the aid that we are sending?”

Where did it go wrong?

 So where all this aid has gone as India’s healthcare system is buckling under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Videos of crowded mortuaries and funeral sites, and grief-stricken relatives outside packed hospitals, are circulating among middle-class Indians. The Lancet medical journal claims India could suffer more than 2,300 deaths every day by June 2021.

Like many worst hit countries of the world, the COVID pandemic could have been avoided. It happened there because of a boastful and incompetent government.  Like his counterparts in Brazil, Philippines, UK and Hungary, Indian Prime Minister Narendra may well suffer few political consequences for his devastating missteps. Like those other leaders, Modi has spent more time diminishing the pandemic’s seriousness than combating it. In early March, even as cases in India rose alarmingly, he boasted that the country would serve as “the world’s pharmacy,” churning out vaccines for developing nations. His health minister judged India to have entered the “endgame” of the pandemic.  In a new cricket stadium named after Modi, tens of thousands of largely unmasked people turned out to watch matches between India and England last month. Many more unprotected people turned out for Modi’s recent election rallies in the state of West Bengal, and an estimated 3.5 million people attended, with the encouragement of Modi’s Hindu nationalist colleagues, the Kumbh Mela religious festival. Commenting in The Guardian, novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy presented a picture of COVID disaster and pointed out that world was witnessing a crime against humanity and put the blame on Modi for this crime.

Apart from the rising number of COVID cases, Modi’s party on May 02 suffered a resounding election defeat in a key state, West Bengal, failing to dislodge its firebrand chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. It retained power in northeastern Assam state but lost in two southern states. While the four states were already stiff election challenges for Modi’s party apart from the pandemic, analysts said the results weaken Modi’s position as surging infections cripple the already fragile health system.

By committing ceasefire violations, Modi led India government seems to divert attention of not only its population but people around the globe as well from the pandemic disaster  by playing Pakistan card once again to cover up its incompetency.

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