A video showing Kanpur GSVM Medical College principal Aarti Lalchandani purportedly referring to Tablighi Jamaat members as terrorists has emerged. It also shows an alleged statement by her that instead of keeping such patients in isolation wards and “exhausting resources” on them they should be punished in “solitary confinement” in jails or “sent to jungles and locked up in dungeons”.
While the authenticity of the undated video could not be independently verified, the principal has said she did come out with some remarks.
The video, shot by someone who appears to be a journalist, shows Ms. Lalchandani allegedly making communally-laced remarks in a room with several persons in audience. “They should be kept in solitary confinement in jail. You are keeping them in isolation ward,” she says.
“We should not say this, but they are terrorists. And we are providing them VIP treatment, providing them food... exhausting our resources on them.” The hospital was “wasting” PPE kits over the Jamaat members. “Those who should be in jail, you are bringing them here for treatment, feeding them food, getting others infected, wasting manpower and kits,” she allegedly says.
Ms. Lalchandani accuses the BJP government of “appeasement” and criticises it for “exhausting” the State’s manpower and resources on treating Jamaat members. She argues that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should issue an order stating that no State manpower or resources should be used on their treatment.
She also accuses the government of ‘sacrificing’ 100 crore people for the sake of 30 crore people, in what appears to be communally laced words.
When contacted by The Hindu , Ms. Lalchandani first said the video was “morphed” and that she did not refer to any community or target Muslims. But in the same breath, she admitted that she made the comments as a vent during the initial days of the COVID-19 crisis in Kanpur.
‘Anger and frustration’
“I said it in anger and frustration. I didn’t issue any statement. I said this but in that circumstance...” she said, adding that the video was recorded 70 days ago.
She was referring to the initial rush of patients to the hospital, including those of Jamaat members, in March.
Ms. Lalchandani said she would file an FIR against the reporter who leaked a video of the conversation for “blackmail” and carrying out a “sting”. She alleged that the local Hindi reporter had demanded tenders and outsourcing contacts from her.
“He disturbed the equilibrium of society and is trying to instigate Muslims. Maybe he is provoking riots,” she stated.
When asked whom she was referring to as terrorists, she gave an evasive reply, saying “all those 80 people who came in, their bags were not checked and they were threatening, abusing and spitting everywhere.”
Former Kanpur MP and CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali demanded a probe into the video by the district administration. If found true, the principal should be immediately remove her from her post and an FIR lodged against her, said Ms. Ali.
“She has violated the Constitution by using such language and broken the oath she took while becoming a doctor,” she said.
In the video, Ms. Lalchandani also allegedly asks reporters not to leak the details of the conversation.