Academics, activists write open letter to Opp, seek constructive action on Covid
A group of academics, activists, former bureaucrats, independent journalists have written an open letter to Opposition parties urging them to step up constructive action that can provide some succour to the people in desperate need of help in the pandemic. The letter listed suggestions for the parties and criticised the government over its alleged mishandling of Covid-19.
“In this extraordinary situation, it is incumbent on all progressive political parties to work together, and with those conscientious Indians who are helping their fellow citizens. India is thirsty for a compassionate, consensual and cooperative leadership that truly works towards furthering peoples’ needs and aspirations,” said the letter on Thursday. It stressed the importance of holding the government accountable in Parliament and in the media.
The 187 academics, activists, journalists, authors, filmmakers, who have signed the letter, include Aditya Mukherjee, Aruna Roy, Kaushik Basu, Mridula Mukherjee, Shanta Sinha, and Syeda Hameed.
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The letter asked the opposition parties to “use their influence to urge” the government at both Centre and state levels to prepare for the third wave of the pandemic and to support and sponsor citizen initiatives that have been restricted due to the policies regarding fund-raising imposed by the Centre.
The signatories urged the parties to leverage their connections to stock essential medical supplies in advance, and work with citizen groups to disburse them when needed. “The more we prepare in advance, the more lives we can save.”
The letter slammed the government and accused it of being “uncaring and extracting”. It alleged that the government has abandoned its moral and constitutional responsibilities. “It is shocking that the GoI [government of India] has neither welcomed the suggestions nor created a truly national task force comprising of all parties, state governments, experts and civil society to tackle the unprecedented situation India is facing.”
The letter blamed the government for the “dire condition” in the country and criticised it for exporting vaccines, ignoring expert advice, allowing religious congregations and rallies, encouraging unproven remedies, hiding the numbers and not anticipating the second wave. It criticised the government for spending money on “wasteful projects”, referring to the Central Vista Project.