‘Restrictions are destroying people’s livelihoods’

CPI(M) district secretary K. Neela addressing a media conference at the party office in Kalaburagi on Thursday.

CPI(M) district secretary K. Neela addressing a media conference at the party office in Kalaburagi on Thursday.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said that the restrictions that are imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 are actually meant for suppressing people’s agitations to press for their rights, while destroying their livelihoods.

Addressing a media conference at the party office here on Thursday, district secretary of the CPI(M) K. Neela said that the Government is booking cases against only those who are agitating to press for their rights and leaving a lot of political leaders and activists go scot-free for COVID-19 norms violations.

“Guest lecturers who have been on the street protesting seeking job security have been booked. CPI(M) leaders who protested against the anti-conversion Bill have been booked. However, BJP leaders have been spared despite them having violated COVID-19 standard operating procedures. There are hundreds of such examples where the police have selectively booked cases and left ruling party leaders go scot-free. Weekend curfew has turned out to be an additional revenue-generating means for personnel in the Police Department who forcibly extract money from common people for minor violations such as coming out during weekend curfew and roaming on the streets without wearing face masks. The same police personnel do nothing when they see violations by influential politicians. It clearly shows that the COVID-19 restrictions have been imposed more for curbing people’s voices than containing the spread of the virus,” Ms. Neela said.

Strongly holding that restrictions such as weekend curfew and lockdown will in no way help in the containment of COVID-19, Ms. Neela said that the restrictions will push the toiling people at the bottom of society who are living from hand to mouth into a crisis by depriving them of their livelihoods.

“There is no scientific basis to prove that lockdown and curfew will help in preventing the spread of infection. Even World Health Organisation experts have expressed the same opinion.

“Our own experience last year clearly showed that lockdown did not contain the spread of the virus. The pandemic continued to spread through communities despite lockdown and other restrictions. But, lockdown did cause irreparable damage to the lives of common people by snatching their livelihoods and destroying the country’s economy. Despite having these clear and glaring experiences, the Government is, on the onset of a possible third wave of the pandemic, imposing restrictions one after the other,” Ms. Neela said and demanded that the Government introduce constructive and scientific measures such as augmenting medical infrastructure and strengthening people’s economic power to face the pandemic instead of imposing restrictions.

If the Government wants to impose lockdown and weekend curfew, she added, it should then pay ₹10,000 a month to all poor families, including those that are outside the ambit of income tax.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 3:59:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/restrictions-are-destroying-peoples-livelihoods/article38300407.ece