Lancet medical journal attacked Prime Minister Modi government sharply on Saturday, May 8, and blamed it for precipitating the public health crisis caused by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The journal said that India might witness more than one million COVID-19 deaths by August 1, quoting an estimate made by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. It said, if that happens, the Modi government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe, reported Deccan Herald.
"Modi's actions in attempting to stifle criticism and open discussion during the crisis are inexcusable," the Lancet said.
The sharp criticism of the Modi government by the Lancet comes on a day India's active caseload crossed the 37 lakh mark, of which more than four lakh new cases were added in the last 24 hours. In the same period, 4,187 new deaths were recorded setting up a grim record.
Despite warning about the risk of the events, the government allowed religious festivals to take place which drew millions of people from across the country and the world. This besides, the events included huge political rallies- conspicuous for their lack of COVID-19 mitigation measures, it said.
Global Media Criticism
US media outlet CNN reportedly slammed India's federal government for considering the renovation of Delhi's Central Vista as an "essential service" when the national capital is reporting about 20,000 new cases per day.
India's image abroad has taken a hit as the country's COVID-19 story is framed more of a 'governmental failure' than that of a 'vaccine saviour'.
Several global media houses such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Economist have published articles blaming the Modi government for the lethality of the second wave.
The French Le Monde accused Modi of a "lack of foresight, the arrogance and demagoguery" which has led to a "nightmare."
The New York Times states that 'India's Covid-19 Crisis Shakes Modi's Image of Strength' as critics note that his "overconfidence and missteps contributed to the country's devastating second wave."
The Washington Post has pointed out that "In India's devastating coronavirus surge, anger at Modi grows." The Guardian talked about how "Modi practically confirmed it was each man for himself."
The Australian's piece titled 'Modi leads India into viral apocalypse', attributed the second wave to the federal government's permission for election rallies, 'Kumbh Mela'- the largest religious congregation while ignoring experts' advice and neglecting health infrastructure.
The Indian High Commission in Australia wrote to the newspaper's editor and criticized the piece as "baseless, malicious and slanderous."
Last week, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar told the Indian ambassadors and high commissioners that they should do their utmost to counter the "one-sided" narrative and "negative" publicity in the international media.
He also confronted that no public health expert in the world had predicted the second wave. Even the health infrastructure of the most developed countries had crumbled during the first wave last year.