What would be the long memory of the coronavirus? It won’t be remembered for the social-distancing and thali-beating, but the endless queues. Lining in queues has not just been just a migrant phenomenon, who were made to line up for a train to home. Middle-class Indians too can’t make their urgent journeys.
All roads leading to Delhi has been blocked. The Economist report highlighted, “babus have ordered nearly impenetrable roadblocks to seal off the capital.” But these roadblocks hinder doctors, nurses and patients from travelling to hospitals.
A nationwide ban on alcohol was lifted off to defeat the purpose of social distancing. Consequently, a 70% tax was slapped on booze. Adding to a list of nuisance is a decision to threaten citizens with six months of prison who don’t download the government’s contact tracing app in their smartphones.
These ill-conceived measures have magnified the grief of COVID-19 for many. For the most part, the coronavirus has increased agonies for Muslims. Along with them “those who have joined the widespread protests earlier this year against the government”, may be singled out for special treatment. Those who have criticized the government’s action in the past are being tortured by invoking draconian laws. Anand Teltumbde has been imprisoned with ten other leftist intellectuals who voice their concern.
Safoora Zargar, a 27-year old graduate student at Jamia Millia Islami University, was arrested when she was in her fourth month of pregnancy. “Her membership of a university protest group has been twisted into a leading role in a purported ‘premediated conspiracy’ by Muslims to stoke the communal violence that engulfed parts of Delhi”, violence whose primary victims were Muslims, constituted three-quarters of those killed.
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Hundreds of rumours are doing rounds on social media that Muslims are deliberately spreading the coronavirus. Videos are being circulated showing Muslims spitting in food, dropping infected notes and so on to transmit the disease.
Tags:- coronavirus, The Economist, Muslims, Delhi, Communal Violence, Safoora, Teltumbde
( In the International Eye section of the magazine we summarise articles from best publications around the world for our readers who do not have access to their paywalls. Here is the link to the original article. ps://www.economist.com/asia/2020/05/09/indias-government-is-better-at-curbing-critics-than-covid-19 )