Cong says UP, MP, Guj hiding Covid death data, seeks resignation of CMs and judicial probe

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New Delhi, Jun 12 (PTI) The Congress on Saturday accused the BJP of hiding coronavirus deaths in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and demanded the resignation of the states' chief ministers as well as a judicial inquiry to ascertain the actual Covid figures of the country.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera alleged that the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been found to be hiding data and the chief ministers of these states have no moral right to continue in their positions.

His remarks came after media reports claimed that over 1.7 lakh deaths had taken place in Madhya Pradesh in May, but the state government data reported much less.

'We demand an independent judicial inquiry across all these states in India in the number of Covid deaths,' he told an online press conference.

'We demand that chief ministers of these states must resign now; they have no moral right to continue in their positions. Their hands are red, as they are responsible, one way or the other, for these deaths. They are responsible for not just the deaths, but also for denying dignity after death by hiding this data,' he said.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Only in May, 1,70,000 deaths in Madhya Pradesh. What was never heard and not seen, and now the truth is before us.' “The deaths in May (in the state) are equal to the deaths reported in six months. Has human life become so cheap? Has our soul died? The prime minister and chief minister should come forward and say who is responsible,” he tweeted tagging a media report.

Khera also cited difference in data given by the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, and that of crematoriums and burial grounds in these states.

The Congress leader said this is not just statistics or mere data, but people, “these are sons, daughters, parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters”.

'For God’s sake, have some heart, Mr Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi),' he said while demanding the inquiry.

Khera alleged that the present government at the Centre considers data as its “enemy”.

'It considers truth which comes out through data as 'enemy, number one'. It fights with data. It tries to defeat data,' he alleged.

The spokesperson also alleged that one has seen how in Parliament whenever questions are asked and uncomfortable statistics have to be laid on the table, 'this government and this alliance called the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) becomes a 'No Data Available' alliance.' The Congress leader said it is also for jobs, the economy and human lives. Concealing data on deaths is not only a crime, but also a sin, he said.

'Let's not reduce human lives to mere statistics. We are talking about deaths due to accidents, due to pandemic, people will say - look, don't reduce it to mere statistics,” Khera said.

'Under this new India of Mr Modi, the importance given to human life has gone down so much that it is not even mere statistics any more. These deaths will not even be counted in statistics any more, which is a most unfortunate thing, we have witnessed through this pandemic,' he said.

The Congress has been accusing the governments of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh of suppressing Covid death data.

Khera alleged that in Gujarat, between April 10 and May 9, government data showed 3,578 deaths across the state.

But, if one sees the death records of one civil hospital in Ahmedabad as many as 3,416 people died in the same period in just one hospital and 1,23,000 death certificates were issued across 33 districts and eight municipal corporations of Gujarat from March 1 to May 10, he claimed.

This is 58,000 more than last year's period -- March 1 to May 10 -- and this cannot be natural, Khera alleged.

'If 58,000 more death certificates are being issued, questions will be asked, answers will be demanded, accountability will be sought,' he said.

In Madhya Pradesh too, he alleged record registers from mukti dhams and from cremation grounds are being taken away or hidden.

Khera claimed that if one compares deaths from last year to this year, the gap is “astounding”, as between January and May last year, the number of deaths this year has increased by 1,90,000.

'What explains this increase, what explains the fact that the government doesn't want this data to come out,' he asked.

He made similar claims about Uttar Pradesh.

One has seen horrifying visuals of how the government was trying to erect view cutters in Lucknow, so that people don't take videos or pictures of “extra ordinarily” high number of cremations taking place, Khera said.

'We have seen visuals of bodies floating in rivers. We have seen visuals of river beds, those visuals don't let us sleep,' he said. PTI SKC ANB ANB

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