382 doctors dead of COVID, government accused of “abandoning” its heroes

The Indian Medical Association accused the government of “indifference”, “abdication” and “abandonment” of heroes, after the Union Health Minister Dr. Harshvardhan’s statement on coronavirus in the parliament, which had no word on the doctors who died in the line of duty and his junior minister’s statement that health is a state subject and the Centre has no data on it. “The government loses the moral authority to administer the Epidemic Act 1897 and the Disaster Management Act”, said the country’s top medical practitioners.

The IMA has reported that 382 doctors died of coronavirus, in which the youngest doctor to lose life was 27 years old and the oldest was 85 years old.

No mention was made of the medical professionals who lost life by the Union Health Minister while acknowledging the contribution of health workers during the pandemic.

The IMA statement read as “To feign that this information doesn’t merit the attention of the nation is abominable. It appears that they are dispensable. No nation has lost as many doctors and health care workers like India.”

The Union government does not have any data as public health and hospitals come under the state list, The IMA said pointing out to the Union Minister Ashwini Kumar’s statement.

“This amounts to an abdication of duty and abandonment of the national heroes who have stood up for our people. IMA finds it strange that after having formulated an unfriendly partial insurance scheme for the bereaved families to struggle with the ignominy of the Government disowning them altogether stares at them,” the statement read.

IMA condemns the statement labelling it as “hypocrisy”, reasoning to the fact that they call them corona warriors on one hand but deny them and their families the status and benefits of martyrdom.

In March, the Union Health Ministry had announced that 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, will get ₹ 50 lakh insurance cover under a national scheme.

After asserting in a written response that the Centre has no data on migrant labourers who died during the lockdown and any question on compensation does not arise, it faced severe criticisms from the opposition.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted “Centre doesn’t care about deaths of migrant workers they caused by pushing them into trains, makeshift carts and on foot to the distant homes”, terming it as “utter callousness”.

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Aamir Khan

Aamir Khan is a student at the Centre for Chinese and South-east Asian Studies, JNU, New Delhi. He also works with Hasratein- a Delhi based queer collective. The current area of his academic interest lies in the study of the Chinese language and society.