In India, Suppressing Dissent Can’t Suppress COVID – By Reena Shah
Volunteers across India, many of whom have lost multiple loved ones during a COVID crisis that had officially taken over 287,000 lives in the country as of mid-May and unofficially many more, are getting little sleep…. Yet even as they’re praised for their work, many face government backlash for drawing attention to the country’s fractured health care system and lack of preparation.
Shruti Chaturvedi, a 28-year-old entrepreneur in Goa, began volunteering in mid-April through her vast social media network. For weeks, she and others appealed to officials for COVID-related information. There was no help line set up, scant communication on government websites, and no way to offer support for the relief effort…. Government supporters are now targeting Chaturvedi, with websites and social media accounts dedicated to attacking her….
Suppressing criticism, long a BJP tactic, has intensified during the COVID crisis. On April 25, UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a staunch member of the BJP, called for sedition charges to address “rumors” about oxygen shortages posted on social media….