The novel coronavirus has hit India quite hard, with there being over 6,700 cases recorded in the country and the death toll crossing 200 as of Friday. The country is at present observing a 21 day lockdown that is slated to end on the 14th of April. People have been urged to stay home and practice social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
When you step out on to the street nowadays to procure groceries and other essentials, it is quite common to see people around you wearing masks. They may be of different shapes and sizes, made out of a handkerchief or purchased specially for warning away the novel coronavirus -- but it has now become a typical sight.
Several cities have recently made it mandatory for people to wear masks. Mumbai -- a city which has recorded over 900 cases -- was perhaps the first to do so, and the rest of Maharashtra has also been urged to do the same. Since then, in the last couple of days, Uttar Pradesh has made not wearing masks a punishable offence, and Delhi Chief Minister has said that masks are now a compulsory accessory when stepping out. Others include Chandigarh, Odisha and Telangana.
A recent cartoon posted on Twitter by the BBC's Hindi arm depicts the mask wearing phenomena in a rather unflattering light and has drawn the ire of netizens.
The image which shows two individuals in tattered clothing that appears to have been cut out of their own clothes bears the caption: "Bachne ke liye bacha hua bhee chala gaya".
This has not gone down well with netizens who slammed the handle and the BBC as a whole for retaining a 'colonial' mindset, mocking India and for portraying 'shameful and racist' conduct.
Now we must point out that the cartoon may be offensive, but it cannot be called racist per se as it does not belittle or even target any particular race.
Nonetheless, the ire of netizens is perhaps understandable. Many even pointed out the fact that India had stepped up to help other countries by supplying Hydroxychloroquine. Others noted that nobody had poked fun at coronavirus related news coming from the UK -- which is working with a far more dire situation.
Take a look at the posts: