New Delhi: In a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has appealed to him that care should be taken to ensure that the Tablighi Jamaat congregation incident is not made into an excuse to target the Muslim community.
In the letter, Yechury said “symbolism cannot substitute urgent concrete measures that need to be undertaken by the government”, urging the President to see to it that significant part of the funds collected under PM Cares are transferred to the state governments.
“Attempts are being made to blame a particular community for the spread of the virus. The organisers of Tablighi were very irresponsible. This, however, cannot be the excuse to target the Muslim community as a whole. Unless stopped, this will disrupt the people’s united struggle against Covid pandemic,” he said.
He also sought the President’s intervention to merge this newly created fund with the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
“Further, as the delivery of health is primarily the responsibility of state governments, bulk of this fund should be transferred to the respective states to ensure effective implementation of measures to fight COVID-19,” he said.
Raising the issue of shortage of medical kits, Yechury said aggressive augmentation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be undertaken immediately.
“It is being universally commented that the testing rate in India is one of, if not, the lowest in the world. As opposed to 7,659 per million in South Korea, in India the figures is an abysmal low of 32. This is extremely dangerous for the future. The country needs to test as extensively as possible, identify the clusters where the virus is being transmitted, isolate them and enforce lockdown in those areas and not countrywide,” he said.
Yechury also said the 21-day lockdown has been forced without any prior preparation, neither by the government nor by the people.
“‘The result has been a degree of chaos and anarchy which defeats the very objective of containing community transmission of this pandemic.” he said.
He said lakhs of migrants who have lost their livelihoods and daily earnings due to this lockdown have been rushing back to their homes hundreds of kilometres away.
“The Government had organised special flights to evacuate Indians stranded abroad. Similar arrangements could have been made through trains and buses if not planes for our brethren, failing which temporary shelters maintaining personal distance should have been made prior to the announcement with adequate provision of rations and stay facilities,” he said.
Accusing the government of not taking states into confidence before announcing the lockdown, Yechury said that now it was unfair to blame them for the migrant crisis.
The death toll in the country due to novel coronavirus rose to 124 and the number of cases climbed to 4,789 on Tuesday, registering an increase of 508 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry.
While the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 4,312, as many as 352 people were cured and discharged and one has migrated to another country, it stated. The total number of cases include 66 foreign nationals.