All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) vehemently criticizes the call of the Prime Minister to light the lamps and demands necessary steps to fight COVID-19 and deal with economic collapse.
Sourav Ghosh, the general Secretary of AIDSO has said in a press statement thatall of us aware of the upsetting situation that has developed in our country due to the mismanagement of the government. Poor infrastructure of hospitals & quarantine centres, unavailability of testing kits & necessary prophylaxis and shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for the medicos have already posed a threat to the struggle against COVID-19. Even sanitisers and masks have already disappeared from the shelves of the medicine stores and chemists in larger cities are selling the coveted items at 2-3 times their price to panicky buyers. Hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities including food items have led to a steep price rise. Small businesses and companies received a severe jolt. Poor people, slum dwellers, daily labourers and roadside vendors are facing starvation. The horror of retrenchment and following unemployment looms at large.
In such a moment of crisis, instead of announcing concrete steps to lessen the plight of the common people, the Prime Minister has appealed them to light a diya, candle or hold a mobile torch with chanting a ‘Sloka’ on 5th April 2020 at 9 pm after switching off the electric lights under the plea of exhibiting solidarity.A few days back, in similar rhetoric, the government had also asked the people of the country to sound gong, bells or plates. In our considered opinion, these are the part of a cunning move to divert the attention of the people of our country from reality and also the accountability of the government.Moreover, these announcements have also encouraged the irrational and unscientific minds to bounce upforcing the Press Information Bureau to issue a clarification. In this condition, overridingall institutional autonomy and rationality, University Grants Commission (UGC) on 3rd April 2020 has directed the Vice-Chancellors and principals of different institutions to disseminate knowledge among students, teachers and non-teaching staff about Prime Minister’s symbolism. Hence, AIDSO urges upon the vice-chancellors and principals to safeguard the autonomy of their institutionsand at the same time demands before the government to take necessary steps to ensure requiredhealth facilities and balanced diet for all to combat COVID-19 and resolve the economic collapse without wasting time and effort in cheap gimmicks and symbolism.