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Is human-imposed isolation in China, Gaza & Kashmir backfiring?

Hyderabad: Nearly one billion people are in lockdown across the world. From Rome to New York to Paris people across the world are confined to their homes this weekend, as part of the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The new Coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 11,400 people so far has brought the world to its knees. Nearly 900 million people in 35 countries have been asked to stay at home, according to an AFP database.

In the US, the country’s three biggest cities, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are at a standstill and around 100 million people are stuck at home. China, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Belgium, Australia, Poland, and Spain have implemented the world’s largest and most restrictive mass quarantines.

Italy, the most severely affected European country with 4,032 deaths so far, was also the first European country to issue a full lockdown for the entire population.

Morocco suspended international flights on Sunday.

Kenya has closed schools and blocked non-residents from entering the country.

The Malaysian government has barred travel in and out of the country and shut down non-essential businesses.

Canada has shut its borders to anyone who isn’t a citizen, a permanent resident, or a US citizen.

Colombia closed all of its borders.

Denmark has closed its borders from March 14 until April 13.

Germany also closed its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, and Luxembourg.

Kuwait banned all commercial flights.

Lithuania shut its borders.

Maldives is subjecting all passengers travelling to the country by air to a 14-day quarantine.

North Korea has shut down airline flights and train service with neighboring countries, and established quarantines for recent travelers.

Norway closed ports and airports.

Peru abruptly closed its land, sea, and air borders on Sunday, after issuing a state of emergency.

Qatar stopped all incoming flights to the country and shut down shops in main commercial areas.

Russia closed its borders with China, Poland and Norway and also banned foreign nationals from entering the country from March 18 to May 1.

Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights.

Slovakia closed its borders to non-residents.

Ukraine closed its borders for foreign citizens.

The world-wide lockdowns, however, are not similar at all to that suffered by Gazans for many years, Kashmiris for seven months and the detention faced by the Uighur Muslims in China.  While the rest of the world is living with insecurity, “social distancing,” “sheltering in place,” and shortages of necessary goods, there are no accompanying bombs, shooting from across a border fence, no forced detention and no communication blockade.

A Facebook meme reads: “To all quarantined Israelis who are “restless in isolation. Not sure how to cope” — please call the following hotline to reach “highly- experienced, Gazan enclosure experts”— “1-800-266-KARMA.” Gazans, due to years of Israeli-imposed suffering, can weather any storm, including potential confinement inflicted this time by an epidemic.

China kept one million Muslim Uyghurs in detention
At least one million mostly Muslim ethnic Uyghurs are thought to be detained in China, with multiple layers of locks on dormitories, corridors, floors and buildings. Fences are put around each building, and walls around the compound. Inmates are kept at least a year in the camps, with round-the-clock video surveillance, before they can even be considered for “completion”, or release. There have been multiple accounts by people who passed through camps of torture, rape and abuse.

On January 23, when the coronavirus outbreak that soon became a pandemic was spinning out of control, China quarantined her city of 11 million. Started for a week, the lockdown in Wuhan continued for two months. Many other Chinese cities still face travel restrictions. Almost half of China’s population — about 780 million people — were under some kind of travel restriction as of February 17, according to an estimate by CNN.

India put Kashmir under lockdown
On August 5, the Indian government withdrew Article 370 of India’s constitution and imposed the awful curfew in Jammu and Kashmir. India has also been maintaining a media and communication blackout in the valley ever since. It is no doubt, both unprecedented and the longest internet blackout imposed by a democracy in the world.

But regrettably, the global community has yet not adequately responded to an inhumane lockdown imposed in the valley by India for such a long time.

A few days ago, a tweet probably made by someone heartbroken just went viral in the country which read “Dear world how is the lockdown? 
The statement epitomises the miseries and sufferings of oppressed people in Jammu and Kashmir who are under a strict lockdown for 7 months. According to a report in the Times of India, curfew and restrictions were imposed for 168 times in nine districts of Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 and 2017.

Now, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the Centre and state governments have decided to completely shutdown 75 districts across the country where coronavirus (covid-19) cases have been reported. It has also been decided to suspend the interstate bus services till March 31.

according to Health Ministry, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 341 on Sunday after fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country.

On Sunday, millions of people across the country stayed indoors, streets wore a deserted look and bare number of vehicles were on the road in an unprecedented shutdown on Modi’s appeal for a ‘Janata curfew’ to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 13,000 lives worldwide.

This world scenario raises a big question; is the human-imposed isolation backfiring upon the world?


Trading Resumes After 45 Minute-Freeze as BSE Sensex Sinks 3,000 Points in Coronavirus Bloodbath

As an automatic mechanism to freefall in the market, when an exchange plunges 10 per cent before 1 pm, trading is halted on stock exchanges for 45 minutes.

umbai: Equity benchmark Sensex sank nearly 3,000 points to hit its lower circuit limit in morning session on Monday, triggering a 45-minute trading freeze as coronavirus-led lockdowns across the world stoked fears of a massive global recession.

After opening 2,718 points lower, the BSE barometer plunged 2,991.85 points or 10 per cent to 26,924.11. As an automatic mechanism to freefall in the market, when an exchange plunges 10 per cent before 1 pm, trading was halted on stock exchanges for 45 minutes but has now resumed.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty fell 842.45 points, or 9.63 per cent, to 7,903. Investor wealth plummeted by over Rs 10 lakh crore in the first hour of trade

All Sensex components were trading in the red, with Axis Bank tanking up to 20 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, Hero MotoCorp and M&M.

According to traders, extreme lockdown measures taken by government in India and world over has put immense pressure in investor sentiment.

As the virus cases climbed, the central and state governments in the country decided to lock down 75 districts from where Covid-19 cases have been reported to break the chain of transmission, and the Health Ministry said states would earmark hospitals to exclusively treat coronavirus patients.

Putting in place a tighter framework to curb high market volatility, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Friday announced revising market wide position limit for stocks in the derivatives segment, flexing dynamic price bands and other measures for one month starting from March 23.

These steps would limit short selling of shares as well as reduce volatility in individual stocks.

Stock exchanges and regulatory officials, however, dismissed suggestions about curtailment of trading hours in wake of the pandemic.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul plunged up to 4 per cent, while Tokyo was trading with gains.

The rupee too plunged 92 paise against US dollar to 76.12.

Meanwhile, Brent crude oil futures fell 3 per cent to $26.17per barrel.

The rapidly spreading virus has claimed more than 14,000 lives globally, disrupting business and ravaging markets worldwide.

Other Asian markets, too, were mostly in the red in early trade despite massive economic stimulus efforts worldwide, with investors spooked by the relentless march of the coronavirus pandemic.

The negative mood was fuelled by the failure of US lawmakers to agree on a trillion-dollar emergency package to help the reeling American economy.

Wellington nosedived 9.3 percent as New Zealand announced a four-week lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong was down 3.7 per cent, Sydney dropped six per cent, Shanghai shed 2.5 per cent and Taiwan was off by 2.8 per cent.

Singapore tanked 7.5 per cent, Jakarta lost four per cent, and Seoul was down 3.4 per cent.

Tokyo, however, was up 0.5 per cent as a cheaper yen against the dollar boosted the market.

Economists and analysts are now worried about how deep the impact of the pandemic could be on the global economy, with social distancing measures and lockdowns dealing serious blows to many industries.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase have all forecast US GDP drops, according to Bloomberg News.

"These rapid and unprecedented downgrades illustrate just how fast we've moved from a brief health scare to a full-blown global recession," said Stephen Innes, global chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.

Constance Hunter, chief economist at KPMG, agreed, telling Bloomberg TV: "It's a health crisis that's started morphing into a financial crisis."

US senators failed to agree on a trillion-dollar proposal to rescue the American economy on Sunday, as Democrats said the Republican plan failed to provide sufficient protection to millions of workers or shore up the critically under-equipped healthcare system.

The bill proposed an estimated $1.7 trillion or more in funding to cushion the blow from the pandemic for American families and thousands of shuttered or suffering businesses.

But President Donald Trump sounded a note of optimism: "I think that the Democrats want to get there, and... the Republicans want to get there."

The failure is likely to extend the gloom on Wall Street, where the three main indexes all went into the weekend on Friday in negative territory.

"I'm presently in New York, and the fear is palpable -- it's rising and there doesn't seem to be anyone who thinks that this virus effect is anywhere near peaking yet, particularly here in the States," Brian Quartarolo, portfolio manager at Pilgrim Partners Asia, told Bloomberg TV.

On oil markets, Brent Crude was down three percent, but West Texas Intermedia was up 0.8 per cent.

The commodity has faced increased volatility in recent weeks not only because of the coronavirus pandemic, but also because of a price war between top producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

People Not Taking Coronavirus Lockdown Seriously, Rues PM Modi as Hundreds Break 'Janata Curfew'

The Centre and state governments have decided to completely lock down 80 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported.

New Delhi: A day after India observed 14-hour-long ‘Janta Curfew’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to point out that people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Several videos have emerged of people taking out rallies and performing garba during the curfew on Sunday.

“Many people are still not taking the lockdown seriously. Please save yourself, save your family, follow the instructions seriously. I request the state governments to get the rules and laws followed,” the PM tweeted on Monday morning.

The Centre and state governments have decided to completely lock down 80 districts across the country where coronavirus cases have been reported. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala announced lockdown in many districts.

Delhi will be locked down from 6 am on March 23 till midnight on March 31

On Sunday, the prime minister had called the ‘Janta Curfew’ the beginning of a long battle against coronavirus outbreak, as he lauded the people for their overwhelming response to his appeal for self-restriction, saying together the countrymen can defeat any challenge.

In an earlier tweet, he had said the country thanked each person who led the fight against the coronavirus. He said that with this “resolve and patience, let’s restrict (social distancing) ourselves as part of this long battle.” The prime minister thanked elderly women of the country for expressing their gratitude to those fighting the deadly virus.

He also tagged a video which shows his mother Heeraben beating a plate in an expression of gratitude to those fighting the coronavirus outbreak in the country which has killed seven people and infected 360 in India.

In his address to the nation on Thursday, Modi had asked people to express gratitude to them by giving a five-minute standing ovation at 5 pm on Sunday by clapping hands, beating plates or ringing bells.




'We'll Be Back': Anti-CAA Protesters Leave for Home With a Promise in Lucknow's 'Shaheen Bagh'

The women protestors submitted a letter to the police commissioner, saying they were suspending their 66-day-long protest against CAA, NCR and NPR temporarily in view of the outbreak.

Lucknow: Women protestors staging a round-the-clock sit-in at the historic clock tower here against the CAA and the NRC have suspended their dharna in view of the coronavirus scare.

The 66-day-old protest was suspended early on Monday morning and the protesters went back to their houses. The protest stage was left intact, upon which women left their 'duppatas'; marking a symbolic return once the situation comes back to normal.

The women protestors have submitted a letter to the police commissioner, saying they were suspending their 66-day-long protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR) temporarily in view of the outbreak.

Speaking to media on the suspension of the protest, daughter of poet Munawwar Rana, Summaiya Rana said, “We have decided to suspend the Ghantaghar protest as of now due to the pandemic of COVID-19 coming to India."

"CAA and NPR are internal issues of our country and we will protest against it once again after the situation gets normal. The main reason behind suspending this protest was the huge gathering which made difficult the idea of ‘social distancing’, hence we took this decision," she said.

Rana said the protesters had already been in talks with the Commissioner of Police, Lucknow, Sujit Pandey, who had also suggested the suspension of the protest for a few days.

They added that they would be back after the lockdown enforced by the government ends.

The Ghantaghar protest which started on the lines of Shaheen Bagh had been going on for last 66 days. The protest against CAA and NRC was initially started by a handful of women and eventually swelled as thousands turned up along with their children in solidarity.

Several FIRs were also lodged against the protesting women but that did not deter them. The Ghantaghar protest garnered support from different sections of the society -- Bollywood actors to lawyers, politicians and even religious leaders welcomed the agitation.



Section 144 imposed in Maharashtra: Only the following groups are exempted from the rule that prohibits mass gatherings

The state government implemented Section 144 across Maharashtra on Sunday to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 strain. This means that mass gatherings are strictly prohibited in the state, and it’s your duty as a citizen to ensure that the disease is not spread at this time. While the WHO has said that isolation will not entirely help the spread of the disease, it certainly is a way to keep the spread of the virus under check.

Pranaya Ashok, the deputy commissioner of police, Greater Mumbai issued a circular discussing Section 144 of the IPC and what it entails. This will go on till March 31 and can extend, depending on the situation in the state on that day.

According to Ashok, the police will prohibit the movement of five or more people in public or private places, including religious places and also any vehicles carrying such persons for any reason whatsoever.

However, the order does not apply to the following exempted entities

- Emergency services:

- Essential services as follows:

a) Food, vegetable, milk, supplies, ration and grocery

b) Hospitals, medicines, pharma-related establishments, pathology laboritries, medical/nursing colleges

c) Telephone and internet services

d) Banking, stock exchange clearing corporations, depositories, stock brokers, SEBI-registered participants operating through these institutions

e) IT and IT-enabled services and data centres providing services for national and international infrastructure

f) Media

g) Electricity, petroleum, oil and energy-related

h) Port

i) Services providing home delivery of food, groceries

j) Drinking water supply and maintenance

k) Godowns and warehousing-related to all the above

l) Trucks and tempo services

- Government and semi-government agencies

- Zonal DCsP are empowered to grant special permission


From cash transactions to clearing cheques: How banks will provide essential services during the lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak

The government has decided to put a complete lock down in 75 districts where coronavirus cases have been detected and as these places go into a lock down it is important to know that the finances are in track and managed properly during such times.

Well, during this lock down bank will offer fewer services like cash deposit and withdrawal, clearing of cheques, remittance and other government transactions from Monday.

Indian Bank's Association I(IBA) appealed to its customers and requested them to bear with them as other non-essential services may be suspended. However, ATMs across the country will be operating, it said.

Now, bank have asked about 50% of their work strength who are required to attend their job at the works place while others have been asked to work from home.

IBA also asked its bank customers to visit the branch only if its important. IBA said that most of the services are available online and customers should use mobile and net banking facilities for non-essential services.

The IBA committee has also been in talks and have discussed various options to support their customers by providing emergency credit during difficult times.

Following a high level meeting on Sunday, officials have decided to put 75 districts from where individuals have tested positive for the novel coronavirus under a state of near-complete lock-down.

The decision was taken at a meeting on Sunday morning with the Chief Secretaries of all the States and the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The only exceptions will be emergency services and shops selling commodities such as shops selling grocery, vegetables, milk, medicines etc.


Coronavirus Update in Mumbai: No community-based transmission recorded as yet in Maximum City

Mumbai: In a good news for Mumbai and its citizens, out of the 4,000 people visiting COVID-29 OPDs, only one person was found positive. This comes as a ray of hope, as the city has not yet entered category 3 or community-based transmission yet.

According to Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani, COVID-19 OPDs in the city see a footfall of 500 patients daily. “But only one patient with a foreign travel history has been detected to be positive with the deadly virus,” he said.

Notably, community-based transmission of the virus is on a larger scale in countries like Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan. City health officials claim that the virus has not begun spreading at a community level in the city yet. In Mumbai, all the reported 36 positive cases fall in the category of risk factors. “So far, we have not found any patient with community-based infection,” confirms Dr Padmaja Keshkar, executive health officer (EHO), BMC.

Although doctors claim that some infections may go unnoticed and that it is currently the season for respiratory diseases. Influenza and common cold have symptoms similar to COVID-19. Against this backdrop, the state health department has asked doctors to inform them in cases where patients develop acute pneumonia.

Not all pneumonia are caused by COVID-19. The pathogen of coronavirus affects the respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs. In some patients, it may only affect the upper respiratory tract with mild symptoms. When it reaches the lungs, the patient develops pneumonia with breathlessness.

“To ascertain, we need to check the travel history or the possibility of contact-based infection among patients. Without these two risk factors, it is extremely tough to differentiate the symptoms of pneumonia from coronavirus acquired pneumonia without tests,” said Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of Chest Research Foundation.


Tope disagrees

Meanwhile, five of the ten people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Maharashtra on Sunday got the infection through local transmission, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

The remaining five had a history of foreign travel, he added.

"Today, as many as 10 people tested positive of which five got the infection locally. Remaining five got infected abroad and returned to India," Tope said at a press conference here.

"It is certainly a matter of concern as cases of local transmission are increasing," he added.

The total number of coronavirus positive patients in Maharashtra has now risen to 74.

Of the 10 new cases, six are in Mumbai and four in Pune.

A health official informed that the Centre had decided to stop flights into the country, starting from tonight. "But those who are carrying the infection should be identified, tested and treated. We need cooperation of people in terms of travel history so that further transmission can be stopped," the official said.


Coronavirus: 96 MPs scared after Kanika Kapoor tested positive

New Delhi: After Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor tested positive for coronavirus, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and her son Dushyant Singh have gone into self-isolation after coming in contact with her but the news has also caused concern among 96 MPs.

These 96 MPs are from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan were present at a breakfast meet at Rashtrapati Bhavan two days ago which Dushyant Singh also attended. Now, who ever came into contact with Dushyant Singh has started going into self-isolation. Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel was the first to do this.

On March 18, President Ram Nath Kovind invited 96 MPs from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to breakfast. Dushyant Singh, an MP from Jhalawar-Baran, also came to the breakfast and interacted with the other MPs. Just two days before this, on March 16, Dushyant Singh had returned from Lucknow after attending Kanika Kapoor’s party.
After Kanika Kapoor tested positive for coronavirus, Vasundhara Raje and Dushyant Singh announced going into self-isolation. But as the news spread, the other MPs who had attended the breakfast got scared. Former Union Minister and Mirzapur MP Anupriya Patel, who was present at the President’s breakfast, has also announced going into self-isolation.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh, General V.K. Singh, Gajendra Shekhawat, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Kailash Chaudhary, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Goyal, Om Mathur, Ravikishan, Hema Malini, Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Sakshi Maharaj had attended the breakfast meet among others. Sources said the other MPs who were present there are also preparing to undergo a coronavirus test and go into self-isolation.

Kanika Kapoor, who came from London to Lucknow on March 15, organised a high-profile party in Gallant apartment on the same day in which senior officials were also present along with many political leaders. Kanika Kapoor also hosted parties at two other places including a five star hotel in Lucknow. She also went to a relative’s house in Kanpur.

It took me 2 days to get tested: Kanika Kapoor
Talking to mediaperson, Kanika Kapoor claimed that it took two days for her to get tested for the coronavirus. The singer further alleged that she called 20 times to get tested.
Meanwhile, Taj Hotel in Lucknow where the singer attended a party has been closed till further orders.

After Kanika Kapoor tested coronavirus positive, Vasundhara Raje tweeted: “A few days ago I went to a dinner in Lucknow with Dushyant and his in-laws. Kanika Kapoor, who is found to be corona infected, was also involved in that dinner. I was present as a guest. As a precaution, I and Dushyant are in self-isolation and we are following all the necessary instructions”.

Dushyant participated in Standing Committee meeting
Dushyant was involved in meetings in Parliament after returning from Lucknow on March 15 and took part in Lok Sabha proceedings on March 16. He raised issues related to tourism that day. On March 18, the plight of the farmers of Jhalawar parliamentary constituency was raised in the Lok Sabha. Dushyant Singh also participated in the meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and Culture.

Thus, wherever Dushyant Singh went, all the MPs who came into contact with him have now become worried about their health. Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien has also said that he will go into self-isolation.

President to undergo corona test
President Ram Nath Kovind will undergo coronavirus test on Saturday, according to Rashtrapati Bhavan sources.

Sources said the President would follow all the directives of the government. The President has postponed all his programmes till further orders, the sources added.

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COVID patients share experience, spread awareness

New Delhi: COVID patients shared their experience to clear myths about the diseases. They also made an attempt to spread awareness.

There is a common belief that elderly people or children get affected by the disease. In order to rule out it, a COVID patient, Kelly Abagat shared her age and symptoms she witnessed.
She wrote, “Hello, I want to share my symptoms of COVID-19 to raise awareness and to make people calm.
I am a 24-year old Filipina who is currently residing in Berlin, Germany.

LAnother patient sharing his age wrote, “I’m 22 years old and I tested positive for COVID-19.”.

asPeople have another myth i.e., persons who have travel history to virus-affected countries should only get tested for COVID.

In order to dismiss this myth and make it clear that anyone can get infected with the virus and everyone who either has symptoms or came in contact with infected persons should also get tested, a COVID patient shared his experience.

t Saturday, I had sore throat (which is usual for me) cause I love sweets and cola. So, I ignored”.

As the number of coronavirus cases in India climbed to 223, it is the responsibility of everyone to contain the spread of the virus by taking precautionary steps
Globally, there is a total of 246,275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while the death toll has crossed 10,000.

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We, the People of India: Hammered in from three sides

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam

Ask an Indian Muslim what is it in India’s public life that s/he dreads most, wants to get rid of this socio-political plague as quickly as possible and wants to elect to power only such a party, or group of parties, that does not make anti-Muslim mass violence a vote-catching strategy. You will be amazed to find that (barring a few men like Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, MJ Akbar and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi) nearly 100 out of 100 Muslims will tell you that it is anti-Muslim violence.

It finds a reflection in the classic Sachar Committee Report (in the “Perceptions” section). Why in the “Perception” section? Because, over the last 73 years of our independent existence, every influential politician has tried to deny this truth, because truth does not suit them. So, Gujarat 2002 does not matter because Delhi 1984 did not matter. Because they did not matter, regular lynchings of Muslim since 2014 did not matter, and the well-planned massacre of Muzaffarnagar 2013 did not matter, also because it was a curtain raiser for BJP victory and rule from 2014.
In BJP rule nobody should expect anything good for Muslims. That was the message.Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has observed in an article published in The Indian Express of March 20: “the attacks on poor, working people, mainly Muslims, in Delhi cannot be separated from the attempts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to redefine Indian citizenship and who is eligible for it, via the recent CAA, and the proposed NPR-NRC.

This would appear in compatible with Article 14 of India’s Constitution, which clearly states that all citizens are equal before law. Together, these developments pose searching questions about India’s democratic future and its place in the global family of nations.” 


The devastation of an anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi late last month came at a time when the economy was already nose-diving, with the annual growth at 4.7 percent and the deepest unemployment in 42 years. Instead of addressing the deepening slowdown in the village economy where rural wages have been falling and resentment rising.

The government decided to humiliate Muslims on Babri Masjid, triple talaq and, finally an attempt to either disenfranchise them, banish them, put them in Nazi-like camps, torture or kill them under the garb of new citizenship laws. Muslims all over India took it as an existential threat and decided to oppose the combined web of CAA, NPR and NRC in legally and constitutionally-approved ways: sit-ins and demonstrations countrywide. 

Despite its unquestionable legality and constitutional sanction the Centre tried to quell it with indiscriminate lathi-charge and firing, including in the library and hostels of Jamia Millia, causing serious injury to students, reminiscent of a goonda mob attack on students and teachers of JNU on police watch earlier. Later, in its FIR the police named the victims of the attack as perpetrators at JNU. It said there were two attackers from the RSS-affiliated students union, ABVP, but did not name them.

It was clearly a police-sponsored violence against students and teachers with leftist leanings.  The same continued at Jamia and Shaheenbagh, the administration’s favourite goondas firing at protestors as police blatantly protected them. The Jamia shooter was described by police as a “juvenile” within a couple of minutes of his shooting a student through his forearm.

He was described as a juvenile to protect him from harsh punishment. Soon he was found out to be over 20 as his father had died 20 years ago.

This man had also voted in the last election. Such was the partiality of the state. BJP-run UP killed about two dozen demonstrators, heavily fined others and put a Rs one crore fine on an Urdu poet, Imran, for reciting an Urdu poem in public. Such ludicrousness with such brutality was seen in the handling of the protests in all BJP states as other states showed restraint.  


Amid all this chaos, injustice and state involvement in demolishing public faith in a just order promising Sab ka saath, Sab ka vikas, Sab ka vishwas the economic slowdown is deepening. The Delhi episode of mass violence has clearly been declared a pogrom by Atlantic journal as well as academics specialising in riots, pogroms and genocides, including Prof. Ashutosh Varshney.

It means mass violence with police participation, which indicates a compromised state.  As the corona virus strikes with full force in coming weeks the entire chain of production, distribution and consumption will break down. Schools, factories, offices and other work places will shut down, bringing the economy tumbling down and many lives destroyed or badly displaced and impoverished Now is the time to close our ranks.

The government also must remove laws targeted at Muslims (as Amit Shah has repeatedly reassured people that no Hindu will be touched). Such things are in bad taste, bringing ignominy to all of us, as reflected in world media.

The government must initiate national reconciliation and move forward to take the pandemic head on, with our support and best wishes. Further economic decline also will be checked if we check the pandemic.

The government needs to focus on checking the expanding pandemic by improving public health service, in which India figures at 154th position among 195 countries, according to Lancet Research. We must get down to construction rather than division.