Coronavirus also has a 'right to live,' says ex-Uttarakhand CM
BJP leader and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat has said the coronavirus is a living organism and has a right to live, triggering a political row and inviting criticism from several sections. His remark came even as COVID-19 has killed more than 4,000 people in Uttarakhand and over 2.5 lakh across India. Rawat had resigned as Uttarakhand CM earlier this year.
'Virus wants to live and has a right to'
"If we talk philosophically, the virus is a living organism, just like us. We consider ourselves more intelligent. But, the virus also wants to live and has a right to do so. It is mutating to save itself," Rawat said in an interview with a local news channel. A video of his statement has gone viral on social media, triggering a variety of reactions.
You can watch the video here
Corona Virus deserves to live, it has a right to life- BJP legislator and until recently Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat pic.twitter.com/jZXWjTYLct— Dushyant (@atti_cus) May 14, 2021
'Foolish': Rawat has been slammed by Opposition leaders
However, not everyone appreciated the BJP leader's philosophical observation as he was trolled by many on social media. Meanwhile, leaders of the Congress party and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also criticized the statement. "What Rawat, who was the state's CM, has said, is nothing but foolish and nonsense," Uttarakhand Congress Vice President Suryakant Dhasmana said, according to Hindustan Times.
'Unfortunate and shameful,' says medical body official
An official of the Indian Medical Association said the former CM's statement is an insult to all those who lost their lives to the coronavirus. "It is really unfortunate for this country that when (the number of) dead bodies are increasing every day in this country, a leader like Rawat...is saying that COVID-19 virus is a living organism and has a right to live."
Rawat was abruptly removed as CM this March
Rawat was abruptly replaced by Tirath Singh Rawat as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand this March, just one year before the scheduled state Assembly elections. It was reported that several lawmakers had complained about the former CM's "style of working." In another controversial statement, Rawat had in 2019 claimed that cow is the only animal that inhales as well as exhales oxygen.
India's coronavirus crisis
The statement came at a time when India has been gripped by the world's worst coronavirus outbreak and is reporting lakhs of infections every day. In the past 24 hours alone, the country logged 3.43 lakh new infections and over 4,000 more fatalities. The unprecedented surge has overwhelmed India's healthcare system and dozens died due to a shortage of basic equipment including medical oxygen.