COMMENT OPIATE SOCIETY POLITICS
By Tathagata Satpathy, Ex-MP
MEDIA REPORTS indicate certain troubling factors emerging out of the video conference held Monday the 27 April wherein Prime Minister Narendra Modi consulted only nine chief ministers. It seems these politicians were unanimous in their opinion on extending the Covid-19 related national lockdown for a further period of 30 days commencing May 3.
And, why not? With people off the streets, common Indians have virtually facilitated the creation of a police state. No longer are questions being asked about government making absurd expenditures under the excuse of building up healthcare facilities. In most states, bulk of the tax payers’ money is being invested (siphoned off) in private hospitals while government hospitals are languishing as in the past. The focus on the pandemic has become so extremely bizarre that normal medical attention required for pregnant women, heart patients, people requiring dialysis and other minor/major ailments are being completely neglected.
It has become impossible to get normal and regular pathological tests in most urban centers. While heads of state governments are increasingly enjoying their unfettered powers, the Union Government too is happy going about announcing allocation of funds for revival of the economy without bothering to inform the people about its bigger plans on the larger picture. This is possible because the ordinary citizen is unwilling to ask questions by herself or is intolerant if someone else does it. So much so, PM Modi, in his address to the nation for extending the lockdown for the second time, asked citizens to not only stay at home themselves but also keep an eye on their neighbours and snitch to authorities if they suspect disobedience of the lockdown rules by others. The message was clear that everyone should be watching everyone else with distrust and misgivings, thereby creating a compliant society. Indeed!
Interestingly, all this noise was being created when the total number of Covid-affected people across India stood at 28,380 and death toll at 886 while the total recovered cases were at 6,362. This was the Monday 27 April evening figures. These figures are marginally rising in the following days. Should this make us believe that in a nation of 1.5 billion population, there are only these few thousand people who could be marked since they are suffering from fever, cough or breathing difficulties?
The industrial lobby, the labour contractors’ mafia and many other vested interests working for the ‘nation’s wealth creators’ have gone on an overdrive to ensure that this migrant labour force does not reach home. It is believable that this mass of migrant laborers, after undergoing the extreme humiliation meted out to them en route to their home state borders and the torture and pain their employers showered on them might, actually, not go back to work out of home as earlier and risk the sad situations befalling once again.