Updated: April 10, 2020 10:46:11 am
Coronavirus (COVID-19): A day before the Union Health Ministry issued an advisory asking people not to label any community or area for the spread of COVID-19, the UN representative in India urged the government to fight “stigmatisation of certain sects of people”.
On Tuesday, at the seventh meeting of the empowered group coordinating with the private sector, NGOs and international organisations, Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator in India, “pointed out the need to address the issues of migrant labourers and fighting stigmatisation of certain sects of people,” said a source who was part of the meeting chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
In the wake of finger-pointing at Muslims after the spike in positive cases across the country was traced to a March congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi, the Health Ministry issued an advisory Wednesday: “Public health emergencies during an outbreak of communicable diseases may cause fear and anxiety leading to prejudices against people and communities, social isolation and stigma.” Such behaviour, it said, may culminate into increased hostility, chaos and unnecessary social disruptions.
On April 2, BJP president J P Nadda had urged his party leaders to refrain from giving any “communal colour” or create any “division or differences” over the COVID-19 outbreak. He told them to support the efforts of the Prime Minister as well as that of state governments irrespective of which party was in power.
A leader present at the meeting said: “This was reiterated when the Tablighi issue came up. There is a directive that no one should make it a communal issue. Only leaders of the minority community can comment on that if they wish to. We have to be united in our fight against the virus.”
Many supporters of the party, especially on social media, cited the outbreak to fuel campaigns like “CoronaJihad” and “Markaz Conspiracy”.
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