- Indian Council of Medical Research danced to Modi tunes!
By Haider Abbas
The COVID-19 pandemic was to hit India, at its worst, as India is home where virtually there is no medical infrastructure. In normal circumstances, this is our national phenomenon, that there is no bed in a government hospital for any common man unless one puts into a ‘known-source’. In our government hospitals, an amount is charged to even provide a wheelchair to an ailing patient. It is in such a country, that our PM Narendra Modi took to a fiddle while the whole of India was burning inside the millions of death-beds and pyres spread over miles on our riverbeds (sic).
A startling published in New York Times, on September 14 says that while BJP government was already gaga over its steps to have contained he first COVID-19 wave, it actually forced Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) to fudge the numbers of Corona patients, and instead give kudos to BJP government, to have played a pivotal role into meeting to the challenge of Corona Virus. ICMR is no doubt a top scientific and premier research organization but had to tailor-make its findings in order to fit-into the political machination of BJP. Nothing far worse can happen, in a third world country, where people were to be left dying-in-thousands on roads, highways and outside hospitals, while all what the political hierarchy cared; was to make a conducive report, as after all BJP just wanted to conduct Bihar assembly polls, in November 2020, and prune-up the fledgling economy which had been shaken by the COVID-19 first wave.
A damning whole article has been published and no-where on mainstream media it could evoke a response. The piece informs, ‘In September 2020, eight months before a deadly Covid-19 second wave struck India, government-appointed scientists downplayed the possibility of a new outbreak. Previous infections and early lockdown efforts had tamed the spread, the scientists wrote in a study that was widely covered by the Indian news media after it was released last year. The results dovetailed neatly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two main goals: restart India’s stricken economy and kick off campaigning for his party in state elections that coming spring. But Anup Agarwal, a physician then working for India’s top science agency, which reviewed and published the study, worried that its conclusions would lull the country into a false sense of security. Dr. Agarwal took his concerns to the agency’s top official in October. The response: He and another concerned scientist were reprimanded.’ ‘“Science is being used as a political weapon to forward the government narrative rather than help people,” said Dr. Agarwal’. Agarwal later shifted to New Mexico in US.
So comfortable had been Modi, as ICMR had already been assumed as an extended office of BJP, that he would boast in January 2021 that India has actually saved humanity from a great disaster and his lieutenant Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Union Health Minister gleefully was to announce, in March 2021, that India was into the endgame of Covid-19, when barely a fortnight later all havoc let loose in India. Vardhan had to be shamelessly dropped from ministry later. No doubt, ICMR was performing its duty, as in June 2020 it had released a study that the measures of government in implementing the lockdown, surely had slowed down the spread of virus but certainly, the steps were insufficient to stop-the-virus-spread. This report was withdrawn! Something unprecedented of its own kind.
According to the details accessed from the article Dr. Balram Bhargava, the director-general of ICMR was dancing to BJP tunes, and that, by July 2020 he forced the scientists to with-hold ‘data that suggested the virus was still spreading in 10 cities, according to emails and scientists familiar with the work.’ How even scientists may be co-opted into the nefarious political games, is how Bhargava would sit pretty while sections of media, the ever-lapdogs of Modi, and later, Modi’s government itself, lampooned Muslims from Tablighi Jama’at to have been responsible for the spread of Corona-virus! Has the virus actually gone so deep, that too into our scientific community? Had courts not intervened to reprimand media etc, an unholy bloodbath of Muslims, by the majority and government supported Hindus, was to have been the fate of Muslims-all over India.
How Modi and his government, in the last eight years, have made ‘establishment’ as its stooge is all too well known, but when even a scientific institution becomes puppet to the government, even as millions of lives were at stake, it warrants a PIL or a Suo-motu from the courts, and let those responsible for the death-of-millions be tried under the law! As now it has become starkly clear that Modi government, by remote-controlling the ICMR workmanship, has played with millions of lives, while India trailed under the worst ever death-toll in the last one century.
All this was done with the objective of Bihar elections, what to say for the stricken economy, remember the once 5 trillion economy jab? But, the real disaster-in-waiting, what was to happen later, as UP Panchayat polls were underway in May 2021, in which 13 lakh were just the candidates, for about 8 lakh posts, what to talk about the millions who came from outside UP to vote for their respective candidates. Is this how democracies work? Putting the lives of millions and millions at stake, while millions lay dead at the altar of skewed reports from ICMR!
Who is responsible for orchestrating the worst human disaster in independent India if not the BJP run government by Narendra Modi. Will India answer back? UP is waiting for it in 2022 and later in 2024 at the national level.
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner, a lawyer and a political analyst.