Some people are guesingg that it were events like Tablighis, kumbh mela or poll rallies that were super-spread events. Some hold just one or two events responsible for it. But an indepndent inquiry is needed so that we can prevent such spreader events in future, says Dr. Prakala Prabhaar, husband of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
NEW DELHI—Clamour is growing for an independent inquiry into the Modi government’s handling of the COVID 19 pandemic in the country.
Leading the charge is Dr. Parakala Prabhakar, the husband of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In his weekly Vlog `Midweek matters’ on YouTube, he said there is an inescapable need to immediately constitute an independent public inquiry to scrutinize the role of central and state governments as well as the conduct of the public in handling the tragic situation arising out of COVID pandemic.
“Shouldn’t nation know the truth? Should not we take the help of independent inquiry to know the exact extent of the loss of lives in our country? The government told Parliament that it did not have data of doctors, frontline workers, and migrant laborers. There are all sorts of estimates. Should we not put an end to this?” he asked.
Quoting a news report in which the British Prime Minister announced an inquiry into the handling of the Corona pandemic, he said such a probe is also needed in India.
“He (British PM) said in such tragedy the government has a duty to examine its actions as vigorously and candidly as possible and learn a lesson for future. He added this inquiry must be able to look at the events of the last year and identify key issues that will make difference for the future. He said the inquiry will be free to securitize every document, hear from all key players, and analyze and learn from our response,” he said quoting from the news report.
Dr. Prabhakar said Britain is not the only country to examine the government’s role in handling the COVID crisis. Sweden launched a commission of experts led by a former president of the supreme administrative court to investigate the country’s controversial liberal approach in virus containment, he said.
“It will issue a final report in early 2022, and two interim reports before that. Norway has set up a commission to assess overall inadequacies repose. Italian prime minister was questioned. Special French Court has ordered an inquiry into government’s handling of COVID crisis,” he said.
He said India’s cumulative infection stands at over 2.81 crore and deaths at 3.31 lakh so far. “Experts tell us infections have peaked sometime in the first week of May but deaths are yet to decline proportionally. By Monday night, the daily infection stood at 1.22 lakh and the daily death count was 2743. Epidemiologists like Prof Mukerjee and media persons from the ground said deaths are being underreported by a factor of 4 to 5. Around seven in nine deaths are going unreported are yet to be detected. Only 2 of 9 deaths are reported. The New York Time COVID tracker says the more likely scenario is 16 lakh deaths have occurred or in a worst-case scenario, it could be 42 lakh,” he said.
Dr. Parakala Prabhakar asked shouldn’t an independent public inquiry be held to tell the nation what is the toll. “Should it be anybody’s guess? Many people are labouring the guess that gatherings like Tablighis, Khumb Mela, and poll rallies were super-spreader events. Some select just one or two events and dismiss others,” he said.
He asked that isn’t there a need to find out which one is responsible and to what extent. “Should not we take help of the independent inquiry so that we can prevent such spreader events in future,” he said.