Bhopal: Over a lakh people have succumbed to COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh during the peak months of the second wave of the pandemic, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath claimed on Friday.
Addressing an online press conference, Nath claimed that there had been 1,27,503 deaths during March and April in the state and that the highest deaths were reported from Bhopal with 7,169 followed by Indore with 7,142 deaths, as per data collected from from the record books of crematoriums and burial grounds across the state.
“Above 1.2 lakh people have died in the last two months in the State. And I am counting the dead bodies, not COVID-19 patients,” Nath said during a virtual press conference.
Elaborating, he said: “I recently visited the village Linga in Chhindwara district. Villagers claimed that 15 people had died in the last ten days. Hence, I visited their homes and met with the family members who had claimed that their patients succumbed to COVID-19. But, when I inquired about the government data of the village, it showed only two deaths.”
The veteran Congress leader further said that if there was such discrepancy in records from one village then one could only imagine the situation in the State. He said the government was blatantly hiding data which was leading to the suffering of the common man.
“I have personally sought the original number of deaths of COVID-19 patients from Chief Minister Shivaj Singh Chouhan. But he refused to share the data,” Nath said, adding:“ The Government is fooling the world by suppressing the data.”
“By under-reporting COVID-19 data pertaining to deaths, not only are we in India being deceived, but the effort is also to deceive the world. At least now we should have the right to know what the real situation is,” he lamented.
Former Chief Minister Nath’s claim of under-reporting of data came as validation of a Newsclick story about the underreporting of about 50% of COVID-19 cases in Indore during the second wave.
Referring to Newsclick’s data and the data pertaining to deaths collected from the record books of burial grounds and crematoriums, former minister and senior Congress leader, Jitu Patwari, too had accused the BJP government of manipulating the data during a meeting with the Chief
Minister Chouhan on Friday evening in Indore.
The repercussions of hiding COVID-19 data in not only affecting people in the state, but also across the country. “Flights to India have been cancelled by the British Prime Minister... In foreign countries no one is travelling in cabs driven by Indians because of the situation here,” Nath claimed.
Hitting back at Kamal Nath over the allegations, senior BJP leader and state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said his claim was against the country and warranted charges of treason for spreading misinformation.
“Nath is singing to the tune of the 'Toolkit'. I challenge the former CM to prove his claim with evidence or resign from his post,” he said, adding that the “Congress is trying to defame the country and Nath’s statement amounts to treason.”