A leading American news channel mocked India's nationwide lockdown on Monday by tweeting: "The chaos unfolding across India in recent days has spelled out that for the 74 million people—one sixth of the population—who live cheek by jowl in the country's slums, social distancing is going to be physically and economically impossible."
The jibe came after photographs and videos of migrant laborers went viral and were widely circulated on the social media. Most of them were daily wagers, leaving Delhi in a huge number, many of them walking hundreds of miles to reach their homes in different states.
The negative coverage, some of it to build a wrong narrative, dented government's efforts—successful to a great extent so far—in its fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The negativity was typical of a liberal mainstream news channel. Liberals hate anybody on the Right, whether it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India or President Donald Trump in the US.
This is not to suggest that everything in our country is going well. It looks like that Modi was not comprehensively advised about the lockdown. It immediate impact on migrant laborers was not taken into account. Consequently, the Central and state governments were caught on the wrong foot in the past few days, as lakhs of daily wagers broke the lockdown and started their long march from the country's capital towards their faraway villages in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Typically, political battles began over the exodus.
It is unfortunate that some people are highlighting a lapse with such glee. At the same time, good things are getting ignored. For instance, only 29 people have died in India because of the coronavirus, while 100 have recovered. Further, the number of Indian fatalities is 0.085 per cent of the global fatalities, whereas India’s population is almost 17 per cent of the world’s.
It is true that mistakes have been made in our fight against the deadly virus, but then positive measures like an early ban on travel from China were also taken. It smacks of insensitivity, if not downright bias, when emphasis is only on one aspect..