Amid the raging pandemic, oxygen crisis, rising death toll and crematoriums over flooded with the dead, The Indian High Commission in Australia took out time to criticise a report published in ‘The Australian’ as “baseless, malicious and slanderous”. The report was titled “Modi leads India out of lockdown… and into a viral apocalypse”, reported NDTV.
The report in The Australian attributes the rise in cases to factors like allowing thousands to attend poll rallies, permitting the mega Kumbh, ignoring experts’ advice on more infectious strains, and a critical shortage of medical oxygen and vaccines.
“Hubris… nationalist politics… slow vaccine roll-out, an ill-equipped health system… and promotion of the economy over containment, reads the article.
Indian High Commission has written to Christopher Dore, The Australian’s editor-in-chief, accusing him of publishing a report “written with the sole objective of undermining the universally acclaimed approach taken by the Government of India to fight the pandemic”.
It also referred to “a number of measures” taken by the government to combat pandemic, starting from the lockdown in March 2020 to the vaccination drive. The letter can be read here:
“… massive upgradation in diagnostics and treatment facilities undertaken in record time have saved hundreds of millions and have been praised by the global community…” the letter reads
The letter also mentioned the Centre’s ‘vaccine diplomacy’ and export of protective equipment, and claimed it had “probably saved hundreds of millions more around the world”.
It also slammed The Australian’s “rush to blame the surge on the restricted election campaign by the Prime Minister of India and one religious gathering”.
It is worth mentioning here that though the Indian media have been almost quite in covering the national health crisis and gross mismanagement at many levels, the global media have been vocal and actively covering this catastrophe and The Australian is not the only one criticising the Central government.
The Times, London, carried an article with the headline “Modi flounders in India’s gigantic second wave,” and blasted the government for “the air of complacency and denial that have dogged his government’s response to the crisis.”
The Guardian said “The system has collapsed: India’s descent into Covid hell”. The newspaper added: “Many falsely believed that the country had defeated Covid. Now, hospitals are running out of oxygen and bodies are stacking up in morgues.”
The Financial Times wrote: Narendra Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party was premature in declaring the battle won in February. It allowed mass gatherings to resume too quickly, including electoral rallies for state elections, and the Kumbh Mela, the Hindu festival on the Ganges that may have been a superspreader event. Hopes that India was nearing herd immunity proved misguided.”