A few days ago, there was a clash between civilians and police near the AJC Bose Botanic Garden, Shibpur in West Bengal after the locals got agitated over the burial of a COVID-19 suspect.
The death certificate of the deceased being taken to the Abdul Road burial ground mentioned Cardiac arrest as the cause of death. But locals could clearly see that people taking him for burial were wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
But this is not a standalone suspicious case in West Bengal; ever since the Pandemic hit India, West Bengal has come under fire over what seems like a major cover-up both in terms of confirmed Coronavirus cases and deaths.
At the centre of controversy is the Expert Committee of doctors which will decide whether a death took place because of COVID-19 or not. It is accepted around the world that COVID-19 accelerates the existing diseases expediting fatalities.
Every Coronavirus patient who dies after testing positive for the novel virus is considered a COVID-19 death. It is therefore the treating doctor who decides whether a death is to be attributed to COVID-19.
But in the state of West Bengal, it is a five-member Committee headed by former Health Services Director B.R. Satpathy, who is considered close to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, that decides whether a death has been caused by the Wuhan virus.
An order issued by the Health Department of West Bengal makes it clear that the expert committee will decide whether a death can be ruled “due to COVID-19”.
There have been a total of eleven deaths in the Mamata Banerjee-ruled state, but the West Bengal government claims that there have been only five COVID-19 deaths. The number of deaths is clearly understated because the state doesn’t consider every patient who dies of Coronavirus as a Coronavirus casualty. An opaque “expert committee” decides whether a person has died of COVID-19 or not.
Apart from this sham of passing off COVID-19 deaths as deaths attributable to co-morbidities, the Mamata Banerjee govenrment is also trying to undermine the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases.
The state administration has been missing out on health bulletins in order to downplay the number of cases. There have been discrepancies in the West Bengal government data and Union Health Ministry data.
The last bulletin came from West Bengal government yesterday which mentions 71 active cases and five deaths, whereas the Union Health Ministry bulletin mentions 103 cases. The West Bengal government bulletin for some reason doesn’t mention cured/recovered cases.
Within West Bengal too, there have been some sharp contradictions which raises suspicions of the Mamata Banerjee government downplaying numbers.
Within an hour of its constitution, the five-member Expert Committee had pegged the number of confirmed cases at 53. But the Chief Secretary intervened to issue an “explanation”, which is again absurd- why should the administration interfere in the numbers issued by the committee of doctors.
Chief Secretary Rajiv Sinha said, “The expert committee said that the total number of COVID-19 cases is 53. Let explain to you that three out of the 53 persons have tested negative have returned home. This makes the number of such persons 50 out them nine have tested negative in the second test which takes the number down to 41.”
He added, “Now out of the 41, some have co-morbidities such heart and kidney problems. Some of them have died…The total number of active novel corona positive case is 34 and the number of novel coronavirus related deaths in the state is three.”
The West Bengal administration is forming novel methods to deal with the novel virus. It is simply substracting the number of deaths, including those dying out of co-morbidities, and recovered cases from the total number of cases in order to whittle down the number of confirmed cases.
All other states include the recovered cases and deaths in the total number of confirmed cases, but Mamata Banerjee-led government has formed bizarre methods to bury the number of Coronavirus cases under the carpet.
West Bengal’s insidious methods bear stark resemblance with China’s efforts to downplay the number of Wuhan virus cases. But this is not the only similarlity, as Dr. Indranil Khan of West Bengal has become the state’s very own Dr. Li Wenliang.
Dr. Wenliang, one of the first whistleblowers in China to speak up against the Coronavirus, had been rebuked by the Communist regime for “spreading rumours”, later he succumbed to the virus after treating the patients of the virus.
On the other hand, Dr. Khan had raised the issue of poor quality of personal protective equipment’s (PPE’s) being made available to the health care workers of West Bengal. He was however nabbed by the Maheshtala police and detained illegally overnight at the Zinzira Bazar Investigation Centre.
Meanwhile, as doctors complain of lack of PPEs, Mamata Banerjee smells political conspiracy behind the ‘yellow’ colour of PPEs released by the Centre and plans on not using them.
Not just Dr. Indranil Khan, the West Bengal government is also considering relaxing the lockdown to allow people to celebrate Bengali New Year, which falls on April, 14- the day on which current lockdown is expected to end.
This is on similar lines with the Lunar New Year celebrations in China on January 25, when mass scale travel in the country had led to Coronavirus spreading to nearly every part of the country and also Hong Kong.
Any such celebrations in West Bengal too can spark a similar outbreak, creating new clusters and hotpsots in the state.
What also gives rise to apprehensions of the state hiding the number of Coronavirus cases, is how the West Bengal government has sidelined questions about the numbers Tablighi Jamaat conference attendees entering West Bengal.
Mamata Banerjee is the most ‘secular’ leader in the counrry, and when a journalist asked her if the Nizamuddin Markaz attendees had been traced in West Bengal, she said, “Don’t ask such communal questions.”
The West Bengal Assmebly Elections are scheduled for 2021, and it is matter of sheer survival for Mamata Banerjee. A large number of cases can directly affect her already bleak protests. It seems that with the elections at the back of her mind, Mamata Banerjee has turned full Xi Jinping downplaying the number of Coronavirus cases almost as aggressively as the Communist regime in China.