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Government terms New York Times article on COVID-19 response ‘provocative, attention seeking’

NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul (centre), Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan (right) and ICMR chief Balram Bhargava address a press conference on COVID-19 in New Delhi on September 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The government called the recent New York Times article on India's COVID-19 response a "provocative, attention seeking" piece that comes at a time when the country is doing well in tackling the pandemic.

The article claimed that the "ICMR tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi's optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis".

Responding to a question at a press briefing, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Dr. Balram Bhargava said, "This is a provocative, attention seeking article published at a time when India is doing good and our vaccination is excellent and it is diverting attention. All the issues raised are dead ones and probably do not merit any attention."

"We greatly value journalistic and editorial freedom and at the same time we must also realise that all of us— Union government as well as the State governments are fully engaged in fighting a pandemic and all our energies and time is devoted to that," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

"We cannot afford to be diverted by things that can be addressed at a later day which are not a priority from the public health point of view," Mr. Bhushan said.

NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V.K Paul condemned the article.

"We actually condemn this type of distorted out of context reporting. This is not desirable and it should not happen," he said.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 6:44:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-calls-recent-nyt-article-on-covid-response-provocative-attention-seeking-condemns-it/article36497360.ece

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