Corona is not the only disease in India, there are more serious problems, writes Justice Katju

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell showing morphological signs of apoptosis, infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID/NIH
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell showing morphological signs of apoptosis, infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID/NIH

Corona in India

By Justice Markandey Katju

Most of the talk nowadays in the Indian media, whether print, TV, or the social media, is of corona.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-logs-275k-new-covid-19-cases-positivity-rate-doubles-101618771227425.html

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/india/

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-adds-2-7-lakh-covid-cases-goes-past-1-5-crore-mark/articleshow/82136369.cms

Some time back I had written an article titled ‘End this Lockdown’ which had been published in indicanews.com

In this article I said that no doubt the corona problem is serious, but it has to be considered along with other problems plaguing the country, many of which are much more serious :

(1) Do people have any idea how many people in India die every year of malaria, flu, cholera, typhoid, dengue, TB, diabetes etc? I have given some statistics in my article above. It may be 100 times more than corona, but no journalist or politician talks of that. So death by these other diseases is ok, only death by corona is something over which a hue and cry should be raised.

https://www.insurancedekho.com/health-insurance/articles/deadliest-diseases-in-india-481

(2 India has massive poverty, record and rising unemployment, appalling level of child malnourishment ( about half of its children are malnourished, according to Global Hunger Index), half our women are anaemic, proper healthcare is almost non-existent for the masses, about 350,000 to 400,000 of our farmers have committed suicide, prices of fuel and foodstuffs have skyrocketed, etc.

But all these are conveniently forgotten amidst the dolorous cacophony of the corona, corona, the corona. Politicians, journalists, filmstars, and a host of others are falling over each other trying to prove who is the greater knight in this fight against the corona dragon. And it does not matter if poor people die of the other diseases mentioned above, it does not matter if children die of hunger or become permanently stunted due to severe malnutrition, it does not matter if unemployment and price rise keep soaring.

While not denying the seriousness of the corona pandemic, I sometimes wonder whether this continuous harping, over-emphasis and obsession about it by the media, politicians and others is not a clever ploy to divert attention from the other much more serious problems in India like poverty, unemployment, price rise, etc to which our political leaders have no solution.

(Justice Markandey Katju is former Chairman, Press Council of India and former Judge, Supreme Court of India.)

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