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

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

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".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

ASI has 'no funds' to protect five centuries old Goa church, a World Heritage Site

Counterview Desk
The century-old All-India Catholic Union (AICU), the largest Laity movement in Asia, has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for neglecting the historic Bom Jesu church by keeping its ceilings  open to the vagaries weather, with no steps  taken to protect the five century old monument from damage on account of impending rains on the lame excuse that there are "no funds". In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AICU simultaneously asks the Government of India to devise a "comprehensive" national social security safety net, universal health Insurance and medical Infrastructure so that the “calamity” that has befalenl millions of migrant labour and jobless rural and urban poor in “the Covid pandemic-driven lockdown is “never repeated.”

Withdraw sedition charges against three young women activists: 1100 feminists

Counterview Desk
About 1,100 feminists from all over India – organisations and individuals across religion, class, caste, ethnicity, ability, sexuality and genders – have issued a solidarity statement condemning what they have called “the targeted crackdown on Muslims and women activists in Delhi”, who were at the forefront of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Tablighis or Namaste Trump? Rupani must 'clarify' on origin of Covid-19 in Gujarat

By Mujahid Nafees* In his video communication on April 24, 2020, chief minister Vijay Rupani informed us that in the month of March the Gujarat government had quarantined 6,000 people returning from abroad in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. He further asserted that the spread of Covid-19 was caused by the tablighis returning from Nizamuddin in Delhi. His statements were widely publicized and given front page coverage by some local dailies.

Coping with Covid-19? Options before small, marginal farmers of rainfed regions

By Biswanath Sinha, Kuntal Mukherjee*
The global crisis due to Covid-19 has hit after reaching in western Europe. India’s response to curtail the spread of the disease was quite decisive. It announced a Janata curfew on the March 22, followed by a complete national lockdown from the midnight of March 24.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”