Updated: May 16, 2021 6:08:34 am
Saying that it strongly suspects that the Central government and some state governments are suppressing the true numbers of new infections and Covid-related deaths, the Congress Friday asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to ask all states to submit death certificates issued by them last year and this year.
Addressing a press conference, former Union minister P Chidambaram and senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil referred to a report in Gujarati daily ‘Divya Bhaskar’ which said that between March 1 and May 10 this year, the state has issued about 1.23 lakh death certificates as against about 58,000 issued during the same period last year. The government of Gujarat has officially admitted to 4,218 Covid-related deaths during the period.
“The increase was an alarming number of about 65,000 death certificates. This increase cannot be explained as a natural annual increase in the number of deaths. It can only be attributed to a pandemic or any other natural disaster,” Chidambaram said. He said the Congress has independently verified the numbers.
“We have a strong suspicion that the bulk of the increased number of deaths is due to Covid and the state government is suppressing the true number of Covid-related deaths. Our suspicions are confirmed by the fact that hundreds of unidentified bodies have been found floating on the river Ganga and nearly 2,000 unidentified bodies have been found buried on the sands along the river Ganga. We have a strong suspicion that the Government of India, in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and COVID-related deaths,” he said.
The NHRC, he said, “must ask every state to submit figures of death certificates issued last year… and then the death certificates issued this year. I am willing to concede, although that does not logically follow, that the number of death certificates may increase by 5-7 per cent or so but it certainly cannot increase by over a hundred per cent…”
Chidambaram said his statement will be “sent to the lawyers who are appearing in the Supreme Court” and hoped “one of them will file it in the Supreme Court and the Court will be persuaded to issue a notice to all the state governments to file an affidavit disclosing the death certificates issued last year and the death certificates issued this year.”
“There is a conspiracy of silence and conspiracy of lies to suppress the number of deaths due to Covid,” he added.
Chidambaram also questioned claims that the entire population will be vaccinated by December end.
“The Government is bluffing… 91 lakh vaccines have to be administered everyday if you want to cover the rest of the population before the end of December. We don’t even produce 91 lakh vaccines every day. And the world together does not administer 91 lakh vaccines per day. Our highest number was on April 2 which was 42 lakh. The average for April was only 30 lakhs. And the average in the first 13 or 14 days of May is only 24 lakhs. From 24 lakhs how does the government hope to jump to 91 lakhs? Why are they bluffing? Why are they lying to the people of this country? Why are they trying to fool the people of this country? This can never be achieved unless the availability of vaccine increases multifold and there is no evidence that the Government is succeeding in increasing the availability of vaccine many times over, he said.
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