Congress slams govt for hiding COVID death figures, demands resignation of CMs of UP, Gujarat, MP
Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera demanded an independent judicial inquiry to determine the actual number of COVID deaths in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh
The Congress on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Centre for concealing data on COVID-19 deaths, saying it ‘treats data as enemy because truth comes out through data".
Addressing a virtual press conference, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera questioned the authenticity of the data of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as brought out by the government.
He said that under the present dispensation, the importance of human life has gone down so much that it is not even "mere statistics any more". He went on to discuss the bungling of data regarding deaths by COVID-19 in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and demanded the resignation of the chief ministers of these states for concealing the data on deaths which is "not even a crime, but a sin".
The Congress spokesperson also demanded an independent judicial inquiry across all these states and across states in India in the number of Covid deaths.
“We demand an independent judicial inquiry across all these states, across states in India in the number of Covid deaths. We demand that Chief Ministers of these states must resign now; they have no moral right to continue in their positions. Their hands are red; they are responsible, one way or the other, for these deaths, not just for the deaths, but, also for denying dignity after death by hiding this data. This is not just statistics, this is not just data, and these are sons, daughters, parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. For God’s sake, have some heart, Mr. Modi!" Khera said.
Here is the complete text of the statement by Pawan Khera:
"This Government considers data as enemy, considers truth which comes out through data as enemy, number one. It fights with data. It tries to defeat data. You have seen how in the Parliament whenever questions are asked, whenever uncomfortable statistics have to be laid on the table, this government, this alliance called the NDA becomes a ‘No Data Available’ alliance. That’s for jobs, that’s for the economy, but, when it comes to human lives, concealing data on deaths is not even a crime; I would call it a sin.
Up till now, in our interactions with the media as Governments, as political parties, with the media, with the intellectuals, often be heard this phrase, that this is human life, let’s not reduce it to mere statistics. We are talking about deaths due to accidents, due to pandemic, people would say- look, don’t reduce it to a mere statistics.
Under this new India of Mr. Modi, the importance given to human life is gone down so much that it is not even a mere statistics any more. These deaths will not even be counted in statistics any more, which is a most unfortunate thing, we have witnessed through this pandemic.
I will give examples of three states, Gujarat; we have spoken about it in the past, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In Gujarat, between the period of 10th April and 9th May, the government data informed us that there were 3,578 deaths across the state between 10th April and 9th May, but, if you see the death records of one civil hospital in Ahmedabad, forget the entire state, 3,416 people died in the same period in just one hospital. 1,23,000 death certificates were issued across 33 districts and 8 Municipal Corporations of Gujarat in 71 days, 1st March to 10th May, 2021.
This is 58,000 more than last year’s period (1st March to 10th May, 2020), can’t be natural. Most of you understand data, most of you understand, how census calculates deaths and births, you know the projections, you know how much it can increase be in either deaths or births, this is not natural, just in 71 days, compare to last year, if 58,000 more death certificates are being issued, questions will be asked, answers will be demanded, accountability will be sought.
Madhya Pradesh, the record registers from Mukti Dhams from cremation grounds are being taken away, are being hidden, so that people like you, brave journalists would not get access to the figures. Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior different cities of Madhya Pradesh, these are big cities, even in other smaller cities, the data if you compare the deaths from last year to this year, the gap is astounding.
Between January and May last year 2020, the number of deaths this year has increased by 1,90,000, as I said all of us understand this statistic. What explains this increase, what explains the fact that the government doesn’t want this data to come out?
Uttar Pradesh, we have seen horrifying visuals of how the government was trying to erect view cutters in Lucknow, so that people don’t take videos or pictures of cremations taking place, extra ordinarily high number of cremations took place. We have seen visuals of bodies floating in rivers. We have seen visuals of river beds, those visuals don’t let us sleep.
In Varanasi, I will give you one example. It is an important city by all practical purposes, it is Prime Minister’s constituency, so we can’t ignore it, Varanasi, the Government data says that in April, there were 227 deaths, but, just the Manikarnika Ghat record a 1,500 cremations in one week of April.
During the same period, the 13 burial grounds, Kabristan of Varanasi witnessed 1,680 burials, who is hiding this data, why is he or she hiding this data? What are they afraid of Data? They are afraid of the truth coming out from Madhya Pradesh, to Gujarat, to UP, to Karnataka, to Bihar. What is happening? Why is the BJP, ruling party across these states doing everything possible to hide data and the reality?
We demand an independent judicial inquiry across all these states, across states in India in the number of Covid deaths. We demand that Chief Ministers of these states must resign now; they have no moral right to continue in their positions. Their hands are red; they are responsible, one way or the other, for these deaths, not just for the deaths, but, also for denying dignity after death by hiding this data. This is not just statistics, this is not just data, and these are sons, daughters, parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters. For God sake, have some heart, Mr. Modi!"