Published: 06th April 2020
Give us answers, no time for diyas: TN education activists slam government handling of COVID-19
The State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) has released a statement asking the government to answer questions regarding the virus
The Prime Minister's appeal to switch off the lights at home and light up lamps has received a mixed response from citizens, some have pointed out the 'scientific' reasons for the appeal others, have pointed out that a mass shutting down of electricity could result in massive and dangerous power outage. Prince Gajendra Babu, the general secretary of the State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) in their statement has questioned whether the families of the victims who have died due to lack of facilities would be able to hold diyas in their trembling hands.
Babu invoked the case of 22-year-old diploma holder, Logesh B, who died while walking from Wardha in Maharashtra to Namakkal in Tamil Nadu because the owner of his home asked him to vacate as soon as the lockdown was announced. "The Government which could not arrange for his safe travel to his home when he was alive and eager to join his parents was benevolent enough to send his lifeless body to his home for his parents to receive the body of their dead son. Considering ourselves as a member of Logesh family, what shall be our feeling, if we are asked to hold a diya for 9 minutes at 9 pm on April 5," he questioned in the statement.
The activist also pointed out that the fact that this wasn't an isolated case and that Logesh had been among several lakh people who had walked back home. Some even sprayed with disinfectant in a humiliating way that put their lives in danger. "Who will take the responsibility for the deaths due to sudden lockdown? Why the labour department, social welfare department and other departments of the Government that is supposed to take care of these helpless people not advice the Government on the difficult situation the vulnerable section of the society will face as a fall-out of the lockdown announcement?" he questioned.
He also questioned the police brutality during the lockdown, "Which law empowers the police to beat and give all types of inhuman punishment that is supposed not to be practiced in any decent democratic society? Every such violent inhuman act continues to happen in full public glare. Such punishments are video recorded and telecast repeatedly. Is it not violation of human rights? Is not a violation of Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution of India to be more particular? Are Fundamental Rights suspended during the lockdown period? From where and from whom will one get answers for these and many more questions," he questioned.
The education activist also pointed out that to fight COVID-19 it was important to have a good immune system and the only way that would be possible to do is to eat nutritious food, so what was the government doing to assure that? " For a good immune system, we need nutritious food. Without nutritious food, how does any one expect the immune system to be sound? To fight this we need nutritious food for all, food with all nutrients. Have we assured this for all?" he asks.
While describing how the light in Logesh's house has gone off forever with his death, Babu asks the government to Gove them some answers, "Having switched of the life light of a family, without any repentance, without any plan to prevent further suffering of the working class of India, we are asked to hold a diya in our hand. We humbly present our self before the Government duly elected by us under the Constitution that directs the Government to provide answers that has risen due to extraordinary situation caused by an extraordinary virus," he adds.