The whole world is looking at Bharat as to how we are dealing with the challenge of ‘Wuhan Virus’, and this is not a time to settle scores. As both the Prime Minister and the Sarsanghachalak of RSS suggested, this is a collective fight, and we have to continue it with utter caution till the final victory
Bharat is playing a decisive role in the global pandemic- COVID 19. Bharat has not only emerged as a worldwide leader in terms of controlling the diseases at home but also created its positive image globally by providing life-saving drugs like hydroxychloroquine and Paracetamol to the world. Considering the population and the level of education and poverty, Bharat has managed to slow down the effect of the epidemic. The credit goes to a strong leader who can take tough decisions at the correct time. At the same time, in similar conditions, Pakistan is still confused over the choice of lockdown, in fact, even USA also had lockdown in phases, and as a result, it is the worst affected country by COVID 19.
In Bharat, it is not as smooth as one hoped; it is a bumpy ride. Indeed, there are multifaceted of challenges which the government has to face. The Bharat government declared lockdown on March 24, 2020, for 21 days. The citizens had shown solidarity in earlier announced ‘Janta Curfew’ and therefore this time also the government was expecting the same. The challenge came on March 28, when the Police and WHO team cleared approx. 1900 ‘Jamatis’ (including foreigners) from Dehli’sNizamuddinMarkaz area, who were staying there for a month. There were approx. 3400 people who gathered on March 13 for ‘TablighiJamaat event’ and on March 16 the Delhi government issued an advisory and section 144 was imposed. 1500 people, it is not clear as to how many of them were Corona Positive, left the Markaz and travelled to the different states of Bharat (many of them are still untraceable). The issue was highlighted when one person who attended the event went to Sri Nagar (via Deoband, UP) died on March 26 2020. The Delhi Government was aware of the gathering. However, it also woke up when the six people who attended the ‘TablighiJamat event’ tested positive in Telangana and died. The role of the Delhi government also comes under scrutiny when it tried to whitewash the cases as ‘TablighiJamat’ to ‘Special Operations’ in its daily bulletin.
The issue is not about religion as no religion teaches to spread an epidemic and kill yourself along with other people. However, the actions of the people evacuated from the ‘Markaz’ forced people to think as to what exactly is the ‘Real Agenda’. They were spitting on the doctors and the health care workers and outside the bus on the way to the hospital, who does that and Why? Another set of challenges came soon after they were admitted to hospitals and Quarantine centres. The reports came that they are spitting on nurses and Doctors; they are throwing dirty bedsheets on them. The worst was still to come, as some unknown people were throwing bottles filled with urine in Dwarka quarantine facility also an FIR is registered against two people on March 31, 2020, at Narela Quarantine facility where they had open defecation. Many people have run away from the hospital after they tested positive. A group more than 160 of Kashmiri students who came from Bangladesh created ruckus at Sri Nagar airport as they were not willing to go for quarantine and Corona Test. They destroyed the Airport property, and 3 of them ran away from the hospital.
Meanwhile, the challenges are not only about individuals/community etc. but also created by a political unwillingness to support the central government at the time of catastrophe; two such challenges have been seen in Delhi and Mumbai. On the eve of March 28, approx. 2 lakhs migrant labours gathered at UP border/AnandVihar area. It came as a shock to 130 million people who were following the lockdown consistently from five days; later it was identified that there was a rumour that UP government has been taking all the migrant labourers to their homes by buses, who spread this rumour is still under investigation but it was a ticking bomb which was very well managed by CM Yogi Adityanath and the area was vacated overnight. The next incident was on the day Prime Minister Modi extended the lockdown on April 14 2020, when thousands of migrant workers gather near Bandra station believing in rumours that they can go home as free bus ride will be provided to them. Mumbai Police has already registered 3 FIRs against people who have been found guilty, but the larger question is, how come they gathered in lockdown? What was Delhi and Mumbai Police doing when they were moving towards the meeting spots? Why were they not stopped in between? Is it a right time to defy a nationwide curfew, or is it a political gimmick to oppose the Prime minister’s appeal of lockdown? All these questions are still unanswered.
Prime Minister Modi, in his speech, also asked to respect the health care professionals and sanitation workers and everybody who is putting his/her life at risk so that the Pendamic can be controlled. In the time of crisis, people need to be united, but Bharat witnessed one of the worst setbacks when the Police and Doctors were attacked in various parts of the country. One thing which is familiar from Indore to Moradabad that the attacks were well planned. They were not because of sudden or spontaneous response to something unexpected because we have seen such stone pelting on Police in recent past and Doctors/Asha workers have been facing it for years when they go to these areas to give ‘Polio Drops’. The action taken by the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath may set an example, and one can hope that this will not be repeated in UP at least.
The whole world is looking at Bharat as to how we are dealing with the challenge of ‘Wuhan Virus’, and this is not a time to settle scores. The Prime Minister cannot do anything alone; he needs the support of all the people of Bharat. Even if a single person remains infected, the whole exercise of lockdown will go in vain, this is a time when everyone should come forward and educate their people/community the importance of lockdown. Bharat can fight Corona, but it cannot fight the mentality of a few people who do not understand the philosophy of ‘Vayam Rashtre Jagrayam’. If you claim to be the son of the soil, this is the time to prove it.
(The writer is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Amity University and a member of Bhartiya Shikshan Mandal)