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BJP spreading communal hatred instead of fighting Covid-19 unitedly: Sonia Gandhi

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New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday accused the BJP of spreading the virus of communal prejudice and hatred in the country, asserting that “grave damage” is being done to social harmony.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, Gandhi said it should worry every Indian and her party will have to work hard to repair this damage.

“Let me also share with you something that should worry each and every one of us as Indians. When we should be tackling the coronavirus unitedly, the BJP continues to spread the virus of communal prejudice and hatred,” she said.

“Grave damage is being done to our social harmony. Our party, we will have to work hard to repair that damage,” the Congress president added.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and top Congress leaders attended the meeting through video conference.

This is the second time the CWC, the Congress’ top decision-making body, is meeting through video-conferencing in the past three weeks ever since the lockdown was enforced to contain the coronavirus threat.

The Congress president said the coronavirus pandemic has increased disturbingly in the past three weeks and called upon the government to increase testing for it.

Gandhi said she has written several times to the prime minister since the lockdown was enforced and suggested several measures and constructive cooperation.

“Unfortunately, they have been acted upon only partially and in a miserly way. The compassion, large-heartedness and alacrity that should be forthcoming from the central government is conspicuous by its absence,” she said.

The Congress chief said the focus of the party must continue to be on successfully engaging with health, food security and livelihood issues.

She claimed that around 12 crore people have lost jobs in the first phase of the lockdown and urged the government to provide a relief package for the MSME sector, which accounts for one-third of the GDP.

Gandhi called upon the government to provide food and financial security to migrants and jobless stranded at various places and were desperate to reach back home.

“We have repeatedly urged PM there is no alternative to testing, tracing and quarantine. Unfortunately, testing still remains low, testing kits still in short supply,” she noted.

Gandhi said trade, commerce and industry have come to a virtual halt and crores of livelihoods have been destroyed.

“The central government does not appear to have a clear idea on how the situation will be managed after May 3rd. A lockdown of the present nature after that date would be even more devastating,” she said.

Former prime minister Manmohan said the success of the lockdown will be judged finally on India’s ability to tackle COVID-19.

He also said the cooperation between the Centre and states was key to success of the country’s fight against coronavirus.

Singh said it is necessary to focus on a number of issues in the fight against coronavirus.


Also read: Centre sending faulty kits: Mamata slams Centre after allegations of non-cooperation


The fight against COVID-19 would very much depend upon the availability of resources, he noted.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said unless the central government comes forward to financially help states, the fight against COVID-19 will get weakened.

“Unless there is a big financial package for states, how will normalcy return to states post lockdown,” he asked.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said unless the Centre rises to the occasion and provides financial assistance to states, how will the fight against COVID-19 be won.

Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy said the Union government has not given any assistance to the states.

“How will states survive in times of crisis. We are not enemies but have to act and work together,” Narayanasamy said at the CWC meet.


Also read: Govt plans to test whether ashwagandha, mulethi, guduchi will help fight Covid-19


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

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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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