The novel coronavirus has brought to the news many stories of inhuman treatment, curfew problems and so on.
One of the biggest topics at present is that of migrant workers who are struggling to make their way homewards. While several state governments have facilitated their commute, others have assured that they would be provided with food and shelter wherever they are.
On Monday, netizens were outraged after a video surfaced showing Uttar Pradesh police officials spraying migrants with disinfectant after they reached the state amid a nationwide lockdown. General secretary of the All India Congress Committee, Priyanka Gandhi took to Twitter, sharing a video of the incident and urging officials to not participate in such "inhuman work".
However even as many expressed their outrage, netizens were quick to point out that the incident was not the first of its kind. A similar incident had apparently taken place in Wayanad on the 23rd of March. The video was shared by many including India today News Director, Rahul Kanwal and BJP IT Cell head, Amit Malviya
"This is Kerala, where agencies are mass ‘spraying’ people crossing borders. But all the outrage is reserved for UP, because a saffron clad monk of the BJP is the Chief Minister and is doing a good job!" Malviya had written in the caption.
Twitterati noted that Wayanad was Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's constituency. And while Gandhi has not spoken about the incident in UP, netizens were quick to point out that his sister had indeed criticised the police for their actions. To elaborate, Priyanka had requested the Uttar Pradesh government to not undertake such inhuman work.
"The workers have already suffered a lot. Do not bathe them like this with chemicals. This will not save them but will create more problems to their health," she had said in a tweet in Hindi.
What Malviya seems to have glossed over however is the fact that Uttar Pradesh officials had doused people in bleach. While earlier officials had claimed that it was not a chemical solution but a mix of water and chlorine, reports now suggest otherwise. According to an NDTV report, Bareilly's Chief Fire Officer Chandra Mohan Sharma confirmed to reporters that sodium hypochlorite or bleach was used.
In contrast, officials in Wayanad appear to have been using a solution of soap and water. NDTV quoted Fire Force department to say the same, adding that it was an additional precaution.
It must also be noted, that while the migrants in UP were collective sprayed with the solution, those in Kerala were made to stand solo and then prayed from head to toe twice taking care to avoid their heads.
Ingredients aside, two wrongs do not make a right. And there is something rather dehumanising about spraying people with cleansing solutions. Of course, considering the fact that the ingredients might not have been as harmless as initially believed is a factor that should be considered.
Additionally, a similar dousing with bleach in Delhi seem to debunk Malviya's claims that "all the outrage is reserved for UP, because a saffron clad monk of the BJP is the Chief Minister".
Malviya's comments have been supported as well as critiqued by those on social media.
And a few absent details have not stopped netizens from chiming in.
Take a look at some of the comments.