The Congress on Saturday asked the Central and the Gujarat governments to explain suppression of the Covid deaths in the state to the extent of over 10 times the official deaths of 4,218 declared in 71 days between March 1 and May 10, 2021.
Senior party leaders P Chidambaram and AICC general secretary Shaktisinh Gohil made the claim in a video conference briefing on the basis of a shocking report published in Divya Bhaskar, a Gujarati daily, on Friday on the basis of the death certificates issued between the two dates as against the state government admitting only 4,218 Covid-related deaths during the period.
“We have a strong suspicion the Government of India, in conjunction with state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and Covid-related deaths. If our suspicions are true, it is a grave misdeed apart from being a national shame and a national tragedy,” Chidambaram said.
He demanded the National Human Rights Commission should collect the true numbers from every state about the death certificates issued last year and this year as this fudging of figures may have gone on at the instance of the Centre to play down the effect of the second surge.
The daily said Gujarat had issued over 1,23,000 death certificates during March 1 to May 10 as against about 58,000 issued during the same period last year. The alarming rise of over 65,000 death certificates cannot be explained as a natural annual increase; it can only be attributed to a pandemic or any other natural disaster.
Chidambaram and Gohil said the Congress independently verified the numbers by collecting figures from 33 districts, including the cities, and they tally with the daily figures of 1,23,873 in 2021 and 58,068 in 2020.
“The difference between the increase in the death certificates (65,805) and the official Covid-related deaths (4,218) must be explained. It cannot be explained as ‘natural annual increase’ or ‘due to other causes.’ We have a strong suspicion the bulk of the increased deaths is due to Covid and the state government is suppressing the true number of Covid deaths,” the Congress leaders said.
They pointed out the figures of the Covid-19 deaths may have been also fudged in UP and Bihar as “hundreds of unidentified bodies have been found floating on the Ganga and nearly 2,000 unidentified bodies have been found buried on the sands along the Ganga.”
Gujarat rubbishes data
Gujarat’s BJP government headed by CM Vijay Rupani rubbished the Covid death figures collated by a Gujarati daily from the death certificates issued, but both its home minister Pradeep Sinh Jadeja and additional home chief secretary Pankaj Kumar evaded questions at a Press conference in Gandhinagar and refused to disclose the real figures.
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Why flip-flop on gap between 2 doses: PC
Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday accused the government of flip-flops on increasing the gap between 2 doses of Covid vaccine to 12 to 16 weeks, claiming it is following the UK while the truth is the UK has announced to go back to 8 weeks, at least for those over 50.
He told an online media briefing the PM is an expert in shifting blame like he passed the buck of vaccination to the states and he will pass the blame on scientists and the medical experts on ever-changing period of the 2 doses of Covishield vaccine.
First, it was 4-6 weeks, then 6-8 weeks, and again 8-10 weeks and now 12-16 weeks, Chidambaram said, advising the government to be honest in admitting vaccines are unavailable, so changing the periodicity of the doses. He asked the scientists not to say what the government wants them to say but speak the truth as lives of people depend on what they say.
“You require 91 lakh vaccines produced daily, if you want to cover the population before the December-end. The fact is the average production in the first 14 days are 24 lakh, the highest being 42 lakh on April 2. The average for April was 30 lakh. From 24 lakh a day, how does the government hope to jump to 91 lakhs? Why bluffing? I don’t understand why the government is lying to the people of this country? Why are they trying to fool the people,” he said.