Skip to main content

Lockdown: 310 deaths due to hunger, financial distress, exhaustion, vigilantism

By Our Representative
A civil society tracker, based on available information in newspapers, online news portals and social media, has said that there have been in all 310 deaths till April 30 unnatural non-covid deaths, mainly linked to the lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24. Pointing out these reasons for these deaths include suicide, lathicharge and hunger amidst migration, the tracker has called the lockdown a major “humanitarian crisis.”
Developed by Kanika, a researcher-activist, and Aman, assistance professor of legal practice at Jindal Global School of Law, and Thejesh GN, a public interest technologist from Bangalore, an email alert on the tracker says, among the widely reported cases reported include that of a 12-year old Jamalo, who was walking from Andhra Pradesh to her village in Bastar (Chhattisgarh) collapsing 11 km short of her village.
“In lesser known cases, a 70-year-old Somariya died in Garhwa, Jharkhand, because she had not eaten for three days, and a woman and her twin babies died in Kashmir because of lack of timely medical care”, the note says.
“News reports tracked during the ongoing lockdown suggest that more than 300 people died because of the lockdown: as a result of hunger, financial distress and exhaustion, due to police atrocities for lockdown violations, and inability to get timely medical attention”, it adds.
The note continues, “There have been a staggering number of suicides as well, caused by fear of infection, loneliness, lack of freedom of movement, and alcohol withdrawal during the lockdown”, adding, “For instance, unable to handle withdrawal (a medical condition), as many as seven people have died after consuming after shave and sanitizer lotions.”
According to the note, “A large number of migrant labourers stuck in quarantine facilities away from family, died by suicide fearing infection, and sometimes even the stigma attached to the disease.” Suggesting that this is surely not a comprehensive picture, the note says, reports only in a “handful of languages” – primarily English, Hindi, and a few vernaculars (Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, and Malayalam) – could be traced. 
A large number of migrant labourers stuck in quarantine facilities away from family, died by suicide fearing infection
The note underscores, “There are also 37 cases where the specific cause is not clear. An example of such an incident would be where there is a conflict between the account of the state and the family/friends of the deceased about the cause of the death.”
“For instance”, it adds, “Initial reports about how a mother in Badohi, Uttar Pradesh, tried to kill herself and her five children was because of hunger was later changed after the mother admitted to other reasons in front of the police and district administration.”
Unnatural non-covid deaths mainly caused by lockdown
Giving a breakup, the note says, 34 people died due to starvation and financial distress (e.g., inability to sell farm produce); 20 because of exhaustion (walking home, queuing for ration or money); 38 because of the denial of timely medical care or attention to vulnerable groups; 73 committed suicide, and the reasons included “fear of testing positive, loneliness”; 11 people died allegedly because of alleged on account of police atrocities/state violence; and 40 migrants died while “returning home” in accidents.
Pointing out that 45 deaths were associated with “alcohol withdrawal symptoms”, the note explains, the alcohol withdrawal syndrome, and its severe form delirium tremens, are “acknowledged as medical conditions that require treatment.”
The note believes, “These deaths are likely an underestimate: only a fraction of deaths are reported by media and we may have missed some deaths reported in local media as well”, adding, “Most of these deaths were entirely avoidable. If the stringent lockdown was the only option available to the Indian government, the least it could have done is to plan better for the most vulnerable sections of the population.”
It concludes, “With India possibly entering the third phase of the lockdown now, there is an urgent need to acknowledge this loss and take active measures to address this humanitarian crisis.”

Comments

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.