A Twitter user from Germany, Maria Wirth, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, faced the ire of Twitter users on Monday after she linked social distancing to the regressive custom of untouchability amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 15,408 lives and infected 353,266 people globally.
Wirth on March 21 tweeted, "Social distancing = not touching others unnecessarily. Remember how Hindus were demonised for having rules whom not to touch? "Untouchability" was portrayed as much worse than ki!!ing millions in the name of Xian &Muslm God by the West. Now?? #ChineseVirus #CoronaAlert #Hindus."
Wirth, author of 'Thank You India: A German Woman's Journey to the Wisdom of Yoga' further said that she is not defending untouchability by birth. She wrote, "Am not defending untouchability by birth. What I mean, rules not to touch someone who removes dead animals or eats them etc. make sense. Untouchability was the only "evil" the British could find, so they made it look most terrible. Btw according to birth I would be untouchable."
Author Varun Grover slammed Maria Wirth. He wrote, "'Untouchability': A dynamics BASED ON BIRTH where only one person/set has the power to call the other as impure. Oppression. 'Social distancing': Everybody agrees that everybody is equally impure. You don't want to infect or get infected. Empathy. Have some shame, white vulture."
"Social Distancing = Measure taken to prevent spread of a highly transmissible disease. Untouchability = Measure taken by upper castes Hindus to maintain power & exploit lower castes by "showing them their place" in society. Maria Wirth = Someone who doesn't understand both," wrote another Twitter user.
Here are some Twitter reactions:
Meanwhile, in India the total number of positive cases of coronavirus in India rose to 433 on Monday.