Covid-19 is at the peak in India. Second wave is happening in India. People are getting severely infected to such an extent that the hospitals are filled with patients crying for beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and medicines. In such an environment, it is a must, to see the reason which led to such a widespread infection. In the first wave of the Chinese Virus in 2020, the government put India under strict lockdown which gave time for the country to prepare for the virus. The government, both centres, and states used the time to enable proper medical facilities and PPE kits. Along with that, the government also enabled vaccines to be availed to the population for free. This was followed by relaxing the restrictions and people finally started to going to their offices and other necessary activities.
The government has asked them to follow guidelines and SOPs passed by the Government which they did mostly follow. However, the problem started when a protest started on the borders of the Capital against the reforms brought in by the Central Government. With the reforms, the Modi government has brought in legislation to provide alternate opportunities to the farmers to sell their crops who were earlier dependant only on Mandi. The legislation also included other measures which could improve the status of farmers in the country and support the environment. Punjab and Haryana extensively grow Paddy and Wheat to get MSP promised by the government, thought it to be a chance where they would lose a big chunk of money started protesting. The government started talking to the protestors and agreed to most of their points however the protestors continued their protests defying all Covid guidelines and was supported by opposition parties (of centre) to gain a vote bank.
Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government which is looking to expand its base in Punjab started providing free Wi-Fi & water facilities to the protesters. Congress which is in power in Punjab started providing logistics to the protestors. This move forced Central Government to come on the back foot and they accepted the suggestion of the Supreme Court to postpone the implementation of the farmer’s reform by one and half years. Various farmers agreed upon the proposal and returned to their houses, however others with agenda and Political support remained at the borders. On 26th January, when India celebrates its Republic Day and shows the world its democracy; something unprecedented happened. Thousands of protestors in the name of protests and having a shield of Sikhism (Sect of Hinduism & majority religion of Punjab) attacked Delhi. Not only did they hurt policemen and damaged public and private properties, but they also dethroned the National Flag from Red Fort and replaced it with an alien flag which was a Sikh religious flag or the flag of Khalistan (a banned terror organization). The government did clamp down the protests after that to safeguard the sovereignty of the nation, however, this led to the spread of Covid-19 since none of the protestors wore masks including their leaders (and I’m not talking about exceptions). Protesters, though in lesser numbers, are still sitting on the borders of the National capital with their demand to completely abrogate the legislation.
A partism this farm’s agitation, the other thing which triggered the Chinese Virus leading the second wave are the elections that happens round the clock in this nation. Maharashtra is leading the number and over 50% of active cases are from Maharashtra. This started due to crowding witnessed during the gram panchayat elections held in January this year. And of course, common people disregarded the norms as well as politicians. Other parts of the nation are following a similar trend since state elections happened in at least six states including Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, West Bengal where millions of crowd gathered for the Political campaign led by different Political parties. West Bengal elections are still going on, divided into eight phases.
In West Bengal, four phases are yet to vote and the main parties contesting the elections are the ruling parties of the state i.e. Trinamool Congress led by CM Mamata Banerjee, and the ruling party of the nation i.e. Bharatiya Janata Party led by PM Narendra Modi.
Opposition Parties of BJP are continuously asking Prime Minister Modi to stop campaigning in Bengal due to the surge in a virus which is a good call as it may reduce the further increase in people getting infected due to attending his rallies and that of other leaders of BJP. However, the demand doesn’t look genuine and seems motivated by Politics. Opposition parties of BJP, on one hand, is asking PM Modi and BJP to stop campaigning in Bengal however no such request has been made to CM Mamata Banerjee and her party Trinamool Congress which is doing an equivalent number of rallies, if not equal. Also the major opposition party of BJP, Congress- started its campaign in Bengal right after the 4th phase with their former president Rahul Gandhi taking the lead. This further shows that their request to PM Modi was more of a Political stunt and holds no value.
Apart from Political rallies, another incident that triggered the Wuhan Virus leading to the second wave is the religious events.
Kumbha is going-on in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. Kumbha is one of the most important festivals of Hindus where people from different parts of the world especially Hindus come to take a dip in Holy Water. This happens every four years in Haridwar, Prayagraj, Nashik, and Ujjain as per Jupiter’s timeline. Kumbha is for Hindus what Haj is for Muslims. Thus, despite the Covid surge, millions of Hindus are currently present in Haridwar. Though Covid-19 norms, RT-PCR test, and negative tests have been made mandatory for everyone attending, it is difficult to control such a big gathering which is leading to Covid positive results in the Kumbha.
At the same time, Ramadan has started for Muslims which is one of the most important months for them and is leading the Muslim community to go on fasting. It also encourages them to visit the nearest mosque. This is leading to an area to increase in Covid cases as it is difficult for the administration to maintain a proper check. During the first wave, Tablighi Jamaat was held responsible for their ill behaviour which gave rise to Covid-19. The Muslim community who were part of Tablighi Jamaat not only defied the Covid-19 guidelines but also spit on the medical staff, urinated in hospitals, and pelted stones on police officials.
It is high time we don’t blame one religion, one Political party, one leader, one event for the second wave because, unlike the first wave, this time it is from every section and every sector.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com