Felled by insensitivity, incompetence -C Rammanohar Reddy
A catastrophe has hit India and there is no sign that the ferocious second wave is being dealt with competently
Earlier this week, a young woman in Uttar Pradesh tweeted a cry for help. Her grandmother’s oxygen level had fallen to 40. “Pls help us in getting one bed in hospital in Bareilly,” she wrote in desperation. Soon a handle that called itself “Team Hindu Unlimited” was on her: “Stop trying to defame UP government and Yogi Ji. Delete this tweet or you will face consequences.” This ugly tweet has since been deleted, but the plaintive response of the young woman is still there. “I’m just asking for help,” she had to say.
The storm troopers were the advance guard. Now, the State itself has decided it will step in. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has threatened hospitals with punitive action if they dare to publicly speak about low supplies of oxygen. How could they when there is no shortage? Nineteen Eighty-Four has arrived four decades late, the Ministry of Truth has at last been established in India.
A catastrophe has hit India, caused in the main by a combination of arrogance and incompetence at the highest levels of the government and political leadership. Yet, the hubris has not ebbed and there is no sign that the competent have replaced the incompetent in dealing with the ferocious second wave of the pandemic.
Since public health services cannot deal with the catastrophe, citizens have been left to their devices to, literally, survive. When they seek each other’s help to care for the sick in their families, the vigilantes who now prowl our virtual and physical streets, threaten violence as they defend the reputation of their political heroes.
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The Hindu, 1 May, 2021, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/felled-by-insensitivity-incompetence/article34453076.ece