To

Shri Rajiv Gauba
Cabinet Secretary

Dear Shri Rajiv Gauba,

Enclosed are my two letters dated 12th & 13th April, 2021 addressed to the Union Home Secretary, on the responsibility for spreading COVID by permitting Kumbh Mela to take place at Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

I had requested the Union Home Secretary to intervene in the matter urgently and stop the Kumbh becoming a super spreader of COVID. There has been no response from that Ministry nor any tangible action. The damage has already taken place.

At the cost of repetition, let me impress upon the Centre that it is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that administers the Disaster Management Act (DMA). It is that Ministry that has issued statutory directives to all to comply with Covid appropriate brehaviour. It also implies Covid appropriate governance on the part of the Centre and the States.

In addition, as I had pointed out again and again, Sections 269 & 270 of the indian Penal Code (IPC) make it a serious offence to spread infectious disease endangering human life. It is punishable with imprisonment. Under the IPC, those who abet the offence either directly or indirectly are also to be deemed to have committed that offence and are liable to be punished similarly.

Considering the manner in which the Uttarakhand government has consciously permitted Kumbh to take place, threby knowingly allowed lakhs of devotees to gather on the banks of the river, which by any stretch of imagination cannot permit the devotees to comply with social distancing, it should be concluded that those who took that decision had consciously become instrumental in spreading the disease. As per the media clippings, many devotees were not wearing face masks; those that wore the masks were not wearing them properly; almost all of them were jostling with one another; many of them, despite the tests conducted, were already infected with Covid, thereby becoming a part of the transmission of the disease to thousands or even lakhs of other devotees.

The latest reports show that more than seventeen hundred new Covid cases have come tio light so far and this figure is likely to go up steeply in the coming days and weeks. Many devotees may carry the virus to several other States.

India is going through a serious Covid crisis presently, with new cases crossing 2,00,000 for the first time and deaths crossing 1,000 per day. Hospitals are crowded, enough beds, enough oxygen supplies, enough ventilators and enough ICU facilities are not available in many States. The medical and para-medical personnel have come under a severe stress like never before. It is distressing to see on TV screens, in many cities and towns across the country, long queues of kith and king waiting to dispose of the dead bodies of those who lost their lives due to Covid. Should the Centre and the Uttarakhand government at the highest level have allowed the Kumbh to take place in the first instance? Is Kumbh more important than human lives? Have India’s priorities gone upside down?

The present wave of Covid has also triggered a second migrant worker crisis, amounting to large scale human rights violation.

On the other side, ordinary citizens are being penalised heavily for not wearing masks in different States. The Delhi High Court has held that not weraing a mask while driving a car in a public place is also a breach of the Covid rules. Should there be one set of rules for the ordinary citizens and another for those in high positions who deliberately take decisions that endanger human life? Should not they be brought to book?

I am sure that those in high positions at the Centre and in Uttarakhand are fully aware of the severity of the Covid crisis at the national level and its intensity in Uttaranchal. Do they not attract the liability under the DMA and the IPC? The local officials at Haridwar are helpless as they say that the decision to hold the Kumbh has come from above and it is impossible when such crowds congregate to enforce the Covid rules. It is therefore imperative that those who have consciously taken the decision in the State and those at the Centre who have knowigly allowed the crisis to develop are identified by an independent judicial commission and proceeded against in an exemplary manner. There should be accountability for every Covid related disability and every Covid related death in this country.

A similar situation has been allowed to develop in the five poll-bound States where almost all political parties, their leaders, their star campaigners, their associates are similarly responsible for holding huge election rallies where Covid appropriate behaviour is not possible. They too must be identified and action needs to be taken under the DMA and the IPC. I wonder whether the Election Commission of India (ECI) has played its role effectively in ensuring that the election rallies do not become super spreaders of Covid. Already, in the five States, Covid is spreading rapidly and precious human lives are being lost every day. This matter may also be referred to the same independent judicial commission for identifying all those responsible and taking action against them.

It is distressing to see our leaders giving liberal advice to the hapless citizens to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour and at the same time indirectly trigger Covid inappropriate behavour on a large scale, endangering the lives of lakhs of people.

I am circulating this letter to the Election Commission and the other concerned authorities. I am also circulating it widely among the public for a discussion, as the subject of this letter has implications from the public interest point of view.

The present Covid crisis, which has already exceeded the limits seen in the earlier Covid wave, in my view, is largely a man-made one, triggered by the irresponsible behaviour of the authorities and the leadrs.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma
Visakhapatnam
15-4-2021

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

To

Shri Rajiv Gauba
Cabinet Secretary

Dear Shri Rajiv Gauba,

Enclosed are my two letters dated 12th & 13th April, 2021 addressed to the Union Home Secretary, on the responsibility for spreading COVID by permitting Kumbh Mela to take place at Hardwar in UP.

I had requested the Union Home Secretary to intervene in the matter urgently and stop the Kumbh becoming a super spreader of COVID. There has been no response from that Ministry nor any tangible action. The damage has already taken place.

At the cost of repetition, let me impress upon the Centre that it is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that administers the Disaster Management Act (DMA). It is that Ministry tht has issued statutory directives to all to comply with Covid appropriate brehaviour. It also implies Covid appropriate governance on the part of the Centre and the States.

In addition, as I had pointed out again and again, Sections 269 & 270 of the indian Penal Code (IPC) make it a serious offence to spread infectious disease endangering human life. It is punishable with imprisonment. Under the IPC, those who abet the offence either directly or indirectly are also to be deemed to have committed that offence and are liable to be punished similarly.

Considering the manner in which the UP government has consciously permitted Kumbh to take place, threby knowingly allowed lakhs of devotees to gather on the banks of the river, which by any stretch of imagination cannot permit the devotees to comply with social distancing, it should be concluded that those who took that decision had consciously become instrumental in spreading the disease. As per the media clippings, many devotees were not wearing face masks; those that wore the masks were not wearing them properly; almost all of them were jostling with one another; many of them, despite the tests conducted, were already infected with Covid, thereby becoming a part of the transmission of the disease to thousands or even lakhs of other devotees.

The latest reports show that more than seventeen hundred new Covid cases have come tio light so far and this figure is likely to go up steeply in the coming days and weeks. Many devotees may carry the virus to several other States.

India is going through a serious Covid crisis presently, with new cases crossing 2,00,000 for the first time and deaths crossing 1,000 per day. Hospitals are crowded, enough beds, enough oxygen supplies, enough ventilators and enough ICU facilities are not available in many States. The medical and para-medical personnel have come under a severe stress like never before. It is distressing to see on TV screens, in many cities and towns across the country, long queues of kith and king waiting to dispose of the dead bodies of those who lost their lives due to Covid. Should the Centre and the UP government at the highest level have allowed the Kumbh to take place in the first instance? Is Kumbh more important than human lives? Have India’s priorities gone upside down?

The present wave of Covid has also triggered a second migrant worker crisis, amounting to large acale human rights violation.

On the other side, ordinary citizens are being penalised heavily for not wearing masks in different States. The Delhi High Court has held that not weraing a mask while driving a car in a public place is also a breach of the Covid rules. Should there be one set of rules for the ordinary citizens and another for those in high positions who deliberately take decisions that endanger human life? Should not they be brought to book?

I am sure that those in high positions at the Centre and in UP are fully aware of the severity of the Covid crisis at the national level and its intensity in UP. Do they not attract the liability under the DMA and the IPC? The local officials in UP are helpless as they say that the decision to hold the Kumbh has come from above and it is impossible when such crowds congregate to enforce the Covid rules. It is therefore imperative that those who have consciously taken the decision in the State and those at the Centre who have knowigly allowed the crisis to develop are identified by an independent judicial commission and proceeded against in an exemplary manner. There should be accountability for every Covid related disability and every Covid related death in this country.

A similar situation has been allowed to develop in the five poll-bound States where almost all political parties, their leaders, their star campaigners, their associates are similarly responsible for holding huge election rallies where Covid appropriate behaviour is not possible. They too must be identified and action needs to be taken under the DMA and the IPC. I wonder whether the Election Commission of India (ECI) has played its role effectively in ensuring that the election rallies do not become super spreaders of Covid. Already, in the five States, Covid is spreading rapidly and precious human lives are being lost every day. This matter may also be referred to the same independent judicial commission for identifying all those responsible and taking action against them.

It is distressing to see our leaders giving liberal advice to the hapless citizens to adopt Covid appropriate behaviour and at the same time indirectly trigger Covid inappropriate behavour on a large scale, endangering the lives of lakhs of people.

I am circulating this letter to the Election Commission and the other concerned authorities. I am also circulating it widely among the public for a discussion, as the subject of this letter has implications from the public interest point of view.

The present Covid crisis, which has already exceeded the limits seen in the earlier Covid wave, in my view, is largely a man-made one, triggered by the irresponsible behaviour of the authorities and the leadrs.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma
Visakhapatnam
15-4-2021

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

To

Shri A K Bhalla
Union Home Secretary

Dear Shri Bhalla,

Please refer to my letter dated 12-4-2021 (enclosed) about the Covisd fears of holding a huge religious festival at Hardwar.

Apparently, the decision to allow such a festival to take place has been taken at the highest level in UP. Those who took the decision had apparently displayed scant respect for the Covid rules issued by your Ministry in pursuance of the provisions of the Disaster Management Act (DMA). This amounts to sheer criminal negligence.

From the latest news reports, I understand that Hardwar has recorded around 600 new Covid cases during the last few hours, most likely as a consequence of the religious festival that is being held there. The local officials had admitted yesterday that it was proving impossible for them to enforce the Covid norms of social distancing etc. as, once a decision is taken to allow the devotees to gather in large numbers, it is not feasible for the local officials to insist on social distancing etc. Also, if a few Covid-infected are present among the gathering, they will transmit the virus to many. Invariably, such gatherings will become superspreaders of Covid, which neither the State nor the rest of the country can afford at this difficult time, when the second wave of Covid is sweeping across the country, imposing a severe stress on the medical infrastructure.

In my view, those who allowed the Hardwar festival to take place have no consideration for the people’s health and welfare, which amounts to a serious offence punishable under Sections 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to consciously spreading a dangerous infection endangering human life. Those who directly or indirectly or even tacitly allow such an event to take place would be deemed to be abettors of the offence, also punishable under the relevant Sections of the IPC.

The Covid crisis that is getting triggered by the Hardwar festival is likely to lead to loss of life, serious physical disabilities and other health problems among the population exposed to it. If devotees from the other States are taking part in the festival, it is equally possible that they will carry the virus far and wide. At a time like this, this is highly unacceptable.

In the case of individuals breaching the Covid norms, in several States, severe penalties are being imposed summarily. There cannot be one set of rules for the ordinary citizens and another for the others.

I request the Home Ministry to cause enforcement of the provisions of both DMA and the IPC urgently against the public authorities in UP, however high and mighty they may be, who have been responsible for this. Failing to do this will certainly erode the public trust reposed in your Ministry as the authority administering the provisions of the DMA and all those responsible for enforcing the relevant provisions of the IPC.

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to GOI
Visakhapatnam
13-4-2021


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