After devastating India’s biggest cities, the latest Covid-19 wave is now ravaging rural areas across the world’s second-most populous country. And most villages have no way to fight the virus.
In Basi, about 1.5 hours from the capital New Delhi, about three-quarters of the village’s 5,400 people are sick and more than 30 have died in the past three weeks. It has no health-care facilities, no doctors and no oxygen canisters. And unlike India’s social-media literate urban population, residents can’t appeal on Twitter to an army of strangers willing to help.
“Most deaths in the village have been caused because there was no oxygen available,” said Sanjeev Kumar, the newly elected head of the farming community. “The sick are being rushed to the district headquarters and those extremely sick patients have to travel about four hours,” he said, adding that many don’t make it in time.
It’s a scenario playing out all over India. In interviews with representatives from more than 18 towns and villages in different parts of the country, officials outlined the scale of the carnage — from entire families wiped out to bloated bodies floating down the Ganges River to farmland left untended due to a lack of workers.
Many people said the scale of the crisis is much bigger than official numbers reveal, with villagers afraid to leave their homes even if they have fevers and local authorities failing to properly record virus fatalities. India reported 274,390 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the health ministry.
Anger is building both at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration and local authorities for failing to bolster medical infrastructure following a virus wave last year, including securing sufficient supplies of oxygen and vaccines. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party last month lost local elections in Basi and other parts of Uttar Pradesh — India’s most populous state — just as the country started recording almost 400,000 new cases a day.
The sentiment on the ground suggests broader troubles for Modi and fellow BJP leader Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh who has been mentioned as a possible successor to the prime minister. The state holds elections next year.
Told PM that J-K people don’t accept ‘illegal’ abrogation of Article 370: Mehbooba Mufti
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said that she has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the all-party meeting that people of Jammu and Kashmir do not accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated “unconstitutionally, illegally and immorally”.
Speaking to media persons after the three and half an hour long meeting, Mufti said, “People of Jammu and Kashmir are in a lot of difficulties after August 5, 2019. They are angry, upset and emotionally shattered. They feel humiliated. I told Prime Minister that people of Jammu and Kashmir do not accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated unconstitutionally, illegally and immorally.”
The PDP chief said that they will struggle peacefully even if it takes months or years.
“People of Jammu and Kashmir will struggle constitutionally, democratically, peacefully. Be it months or years, we will restore Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir as it is a matter of our identity. We did not get it from Pakistan, it was given to us by our country, by Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel,” she said.
This was the first meeting between the Centre with the political leaders of the region after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
The PDP president said that she congratulated the Prime Minster over holding talks with Pakistan, which reduced infiltration in the union territory, and added that the government should instead talk about the halted trade.
“I congratulated him that they talked to Pakistan and it led to ceasefire, less infiltration. For peace of Jammu and Kashmir if they have to talk to Pakistan again, they should. They should also talk to Pakistan about trade with them that has halted, it is a source of employment for many,” she said.
The meeting began at around 3 pm and was attended by 14 prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the leaders who are participated in the meeting were Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; National Conference’s Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah; PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, J-K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari; BJP’s Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh, and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)’s M Y Tarigami; National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone.
Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Home Secretary also attended the meeting.
We do not accept abrogation of Article 370, will fight it in court: Omar Abdullah
National Conference said at the meeting of Jammu and Kashmir leaders with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it does not accept the decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and will fight against it in the court.
Speaking to the media after the all-party meeting with Prime Minister, NC leader Omar Abdullah said “there has been a breach of trust between Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre” and it is the union government’s duty to restore it.
“As it was an open discussion, we have put our views openly. We told Prime Minister that we don’t stand with what was done on August 5, 2019. We’re not ready to accept it. But we won’t take the law into our hands. We will fight this in court, and hope that we’ll get justice there,” he said.
“We also told Prime Minister that there’s been a breach of trust between the state and Centre. It’s the Centre’s duty to restore it, and for that whatever Prime Minister thinks best, he should do. The Prime Minister listened to us in a good and peaceful environment. We told him that it is important to reverse the decisions that were taken and are not in favour of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
The former Chief Minister said Jammu and Kashmir was given the status of a Union Territory and “people don’t like it”.
“They want full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir with Jammu and Kashmir cadre restored,” he said.
Omar Abdullah said all leaders who participated in the meeting demanded full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir.
“Both Prime Minister and Home Minister said the work for elections and restoring statehood should start soon. However, Azad Sahib said that first statehood should be restored and then elections should be held. On this Prime Minister didn’t say anything,” Abdullah added.
Fourteen prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir took part in the meeting, the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
Congress demands early statehood, assembly polls in J-K
Congress put up five demands at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday including early statehood, conducting polls to restore democracy and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
Talking to media persons after the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s residence, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said they also demanded the release of political detainees and a bill concerning domicile rules.
“In today’s meeting, from Congress’s side, we informed the Prime Minister why the state should have not been dissolved. The move was done without consulting the elected representatives. But in the end, after saying all this, we have put up five big demands in front of the government,” Azad said.
“Statehood should be restored at the earliest was our first demand. We have told them that in Parliament, Home Minister had assured us that the statehood will be restored after some time. We said that the time has come as all elections are concluded including BDC and DDC and the border is also at peace,” Azad added.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said the second demand was to conduct the legislative assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest.
“They said they are doing everything to strengthen the democracy. We also want this and assembly elections should be conducted at the earliest. You did panchayat election, and there should also be legislative elections,” he said.
Congress also called upon the government to bring a bill giving guarantee regarding domicile and employment in the state to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We had historic domicile rules and also rules regarding employments. The government should give a guarantee that they will bring bills on land and employment,” Azad said.
The Congress leader said his party also demanded rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and promised the government to help in the process.
“We asked the government to release all the political prisoners, not the militants, but political prisoners, at the earliest,” Azad said.
The Congress leader said that Home Minister Amit Shah spoke before the Prime Minister and said the Centre is committed to restoring the statehood and conduct assembly elections there,” he added.
The Congress leader said that the Centre assured them that their demands will be met.
Asked if there were discussion regarding the abrogation of Article 370, Azad said almost 80 per cent of parties spoke on Art 370 but the matter is sub judice in court.
Fourteen prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting.
This was the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
- ‘Not everyone can be called for the meeting’: Dr. Nirmal Singh on Ch. Lal Singh June 24, 2021
- Jammu: Major accident reported as 3 vehicles collide June 24, 2021
- Told PM that J-K people don’t accept ‘illegal’ abrogation of Article 370: Mehbooba Mufti June 24, 2021
- We do not accept abrogation of Article 370, will fight it in court: Omar Abdullah June 24, 2021
- Congress demands early statehood, assembly polls in J-K June 24, 2021
Jammu3 months ago
Transfer and posting of J-K Police Inspectors
COVID 192 months ago
New Covid-19 guidelines for Jammu University
Business2 weeks ago
Now, get a driving licence without taking a test at the RTO
Jammu2 months ago
Weekend lockdown in Jammu from tomorrow: Details Inside
Sports2 months ago
IPL 2021: Smith, Warner, Maxwell and other Australians can face 5 yr jail, here’s why
Jammu2 months ago
E-auction of Liquor Shops in J&K: Check Full list
Kashmir2 months ago
Rs. 92,000 fine imposed on a bakery
Kashmir4 weeks ago
Unlock: Big Update regarding opening of shops and business establishments