Indians took to Twitter with a strong message to the country’s Prime Minister today. Following the government’s inaction over migrant workers’ woes, amid the coronavirus lockdown, hashtag #StepdownModi was the top trend in the country, on Monday.
Highlighting the ruling party’s apathy towards the situation, tweep @akshaykhomane posted: “The migrant crisis our nation faces is a result of… apathy. #StepDownModi”
Tagging Modi, Twitter user @ChanchuDrishti asked: “How do you sleep at night @narendramodi knowing how much migrants are suffering?”
Many Indians criticised Prime Minister Modi’s sudden announcement to go under lockdown within four hours, on March 24. That is what resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, they said. Millions of the country’s internal migrants, who were daily wage labourers, were left with no source of food or income.
Reportedly, a group of leading Indian medical experts have said in a report to the prime minister that the current situation in India, with regard to COVID-19 cases, could have been avoided had migrant workers been allowed to go home before a lockdown was imposed.
In a statement, the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) and Indian Association of Epidemiologists (IAE) Joint COVID-19 Task Force said: “The returning migrants are now taking the infection to each and every corner of the country, mostly to rural and peri-urban areas, in districts which had minimal cases and have relatively weak public health systems (including clinical care)”.
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Tweep @FiveDimens tweeted the report with the comment: “Top medical professionals call out the government’s 'incoherent' COVID-19 Policy #Lockdownwithoutaplan”
Many tweeps also took the opportunity to highlight other issues, such as unemployment in the country, under the current governance.
Tweep @newunitedindia wrote: “As we continuously emphasize that unemployment has become the permanent problem for this nation. During lock-down … people losing their jobs due to this pandemic. We seek relief from govt. #StepDownModi”
And, tweep @biloul_shiraz posted: “5, 394 dead of COVID-19, 27.11% unemployment rate, 383 people died of mis-governance . Economy at 3.1% . Every neighbour is now an enemy. You’ve completed your mission. #StepDownModi”
Twitter user @The_veenaD posted: MODI you are - NOT competent enough to take care of my INDIA; NOT compassionate enough to take care of INDIA's poor; NOT diplomatic enough to take care of INDIA's borders; NOT educated enough to understand complexity of INDIA's economy.”
And, in a sarcastic tweet @inmalky highlighted how the PM had got his priorities in order, referring to Modi’s tweet response to the Australian PM who made samosas, yesterday. The tweep wrote: “While the nation is burning due to 1.Covid - Seventh worst hit in the world; 2. Migrants; 3. China Incursion; 4.Nepal claiming our land; 5. Locusts etc. You know what our PM is doing? Discussing taste of samosas with PM of Australia! Priority!”
India’s nationwide lockdown from March 25 till May 30 has been one of the most “stringent”, yet, COVID-19 cases have increased exponentially through this phase, from 600 cases on March 25 to 190,535 cases today in the country.