‘Crime against humanity’: India’s Modi slammed for COVID handling
India’s hospitals have been packed with coronavirus patients, as relatives of the sick scrambled to find supplies of oxygen and nearly full crematoriums worked feverishly to deal with the dead.
Yet despite those clear signs of an overwhelming health crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed ahead with a densely packed campaign rally.
“I have never seen such a huge crowd before!” he roared to his supporters in West Bengal state on April 17, before key local elections. “Wherever I can see, I can only see people. I can see nothing else.”
As another deadly wave of COVID-19 infections was swamping India, Modi’s government refused to cancel a major Hindu festival attended by millions. Cricket matches, attended by tens of thousands, carried on, too.
The catastrophic surge has led to criticism at home.
The 70-year-old, whose image as a technocrat brought him deep approval from a middle class weary of corruption and bureaucratic dysfunction, has been accused of stifling dissent and choosing politics over public health.
He was also called a “super-spreader” by the Vice President of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Navjot Dahiya.
— India Resists (@India_Resists) April 27, 2021
With deaths mounting and a touted vaccine rollout faltering badly, Modi has pushed much of the responsibility for fighting the virus onto poorly equipped and unprepared state governments and even onto patients themselves, critics say.
“It is a crime against humanity,” author and activist Arundhati Roy said of Modi’s handling of the virus.
“Foreign governments are rushing to help. But as long as decision-making remains with Modi, who has shown himself to be incapable of working with experts or looking beyond securing narrow political gain, it will be like pouring aid into a sieve.”
When the official COVID-19 death toll crossed 200,000 – a number experts say is a severe undercount – Modi was silent.
His government says it is on a “war footing,” ramping up hospital capacity, supplies of oxygen and drugs…..read more
Source: Al Jazeera