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‘Like Hanuman got medicine’ — Brazil’s Bolsonaro invokes Ramayana in Covid-19 letter to Modi




File image of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (left) with PM Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind | Photo: PTI
File image of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (left) with PM Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind | Photo: PTI

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New Delhi: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday, thanking him for easing restrictions on the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bolsonaro compared India’s move to the legend of Hanuman bringing Sanjeevani booti for Lakshman in the epic Ramayana.

“Just as Lord Hanuman brought the holy medicine from the Himalayas to save the life of Lord Rama’s brother Laksmana (sic), and Jesus healed those who were sick and restored the sight of Bartimeu, India and Brazil will overcome this global crisis by joining forces and sharing blessings for the sake of all peoples,” Bolsonaro’s letter stated.

According to reports, Bolsonaro in his letter also emphasised that HCQ was required not just to fight coronavirus but for other diseases too.

More than 14,000 people have been infected with Covid-19 in Brazil, and around 700 have died so far.

Prime Minister Modi also took to Twitter Wednesday to wish people on Hanuman Jayanti amid the lockdown, saying the life of ‘pawanputra‘ (son of the wind) will give people strength to overcome every crisis.

India is the largest manufacturer of HCQ, an anti-malarial drug that is also considered one of the possible cures for the novel coronavirus. The Covid-19 pandemic has infected more than 1.4 million people and resulted in the death of over 83,000 across the world.

India had earlier banned the export of HCQ, and only allowed it after US President Donald Trump requested an urgent supply. Trump had said that he didn’t like Modi’s decision to ban the export of the drug.

Also read: Over 29 million hydroxychloroquine doses to fight Covid-19 bought from India, says Trump

PM Modi’s conversation with Bolsonaro

On 4 April, Modi had a telephonic conversation with Bolsonaro to discuss the Covid-19 outbreak. The PM also gave his condolences to the coronavirus victims in Brazil.

During the conversation, both Modi and Bolsanaro had stressed on close cooperation between India and Brazil to mitigate the damages done by the pandemic.

According to a government statement, Modi had “assured all possible support” to the Brazilian President. The two leaders also agreed that their officials would remain in regular touch to discuss the Covid-19 situation and the challenges emerging from it.

Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the 70th Republic Day celebrations this year.

Also read: Why India’s Republic Day chief guest, Jair Bolsonaro, is called ‘Trump of the Tropics’

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown

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