Letters to the Editor — April 21, 2020

Not adding up

At a time when steps are being taken in relaxing the national lockdown curbs, it is amusing to note that the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, registered on Saturday, and submitted by the Indian Council of Medical Research differed from the ones put out by the Health Ministry (Page 1, “Confusion over mismatch in Health Ministry, ICMR figures”, April 20). The funniest part was that there was no correlation in the numbers of positive cases given by States, the ICMR and the Health Ministry. When there is no accuracy even in furnishing the correct numbers of COVID-19 cases by the top agencies, how can people be expected to be confident about other data such as symptom cases, cases testing positive, cases under treatment, cases in quarantine, and those discharged? It is based on such data that the Centre and States can take further steps concerning welfare.

D. Sethuraman,


Notes from the field

It was disturbing to come across the snippet, “Spraying of disinfectants harmful: Health Ministry” (‘COVID-19’pages, April 20), as there are many areas in cities, towns and even villages in India that are using tunnels to spray disinfectants on people. The advisory against spraying, citing its physically and psychologically harmful effects, should reach administrative bodies at all levels immediately and people must be made aware of the dangers of such a procedure. Also, the Central government should have classified areas in States as red, orange I and II and green zones only to assess the situation and not for the purpose of any lockdown relaxation.

C.R. Ananthanarayanan,


It is distressing to read reports about people objecting to the burial or even cremation of persons in their locality who pass away after coronavirus infection. This is happening across India. The case of a medical doctor in Chennai, who was treating coronavirus patients, who then got infected and passed away, is one such instance. A civilised society would treat him with respect. However, when his body was taken for burial, local people took objection to this and the police had to step in amid an unpleasant situation. Death is inevitable for all, yet ignorant protesters seem to think they are created differently and behave in a disrespectful and hostile manner. In most such cases of protests, it is not one or two persons but scores who join in. Have we become an insensitive society?

N.S. Venkataraman,


There is a lot of confusion over the easing of restrictions during the national lockdown period. This state of uncertainty must be removed with the roll-out of clear guidelines categorically stating what is allowed and what is not for everyone to understand and follow easily without getting into unnecessary trouble with the law enforcement authorities. The government must understand and appreciate the laying down of a cohesive and comprehensive list of dos and dont’s in this period.

V. Padmanabhan,



The citing of a verse from Sangam period Tamil anthology (OpEd page, ‘From the Readers’ Editor’, April 20) prompted me to think of a very popular Thirukkural, ‘Idipparai illatha...’ (448). It states that ‘a king who is without the guard of men who can rebuke him, will perish, even though there be no one to destroy him’. The core issues around the action against Dr. Kafeel Khan, the surrender of Anand Teltumbte and Gautam Navlakha or the FIR registered against Siddharth Varadarajan have been lost in the avalanche of COVID-19 coverage. It is disturbing that nowadays, there is no discussion, debate or interview that reflects the voices of dissent and which draws media attention. Speaking truth to power is the essence of democracy. Overt directions to present purely positive views of the government’s handling of the situation is what prevails in much of the fourth estate.

S.V. Venugopalan,


A letter from the Editor

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:11:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-21-2020/article31391684.ece

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