Not 5L, 40L Indians died of COVID-19, claims Rahul Gandhi
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged 40 lakh people died of COVID-19 in India and not five lakh as the Centre claims. Taking aim at the BJP-led central government, he claimed these deaths were a result of the government's "negligence" during the coronavirus outbreak. On Twitter, he cited a New York Times article that made similar claims about India's COVID-19 death toll.
- In a recent NYT report titled "India Is Stalling the WHO's Efforts to Make Global COVID-19 Death Toll Public," India has been accused of "undercounting" the actual COVID-19 death toll and also being complacent during the virus outbreak last year.
- Previously, experts had suggested the discrepancies in deaths could be attributed to the lack of testing, reporting challenges, or an inability to access healthcare.
Hitting out at PM Narendra Modi-led Centre, Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, "Modi ji neither speaks the truth nor lets others speak. He still lies that no one died due to oxygen shortage!" "I had said earlier also—due to the negligence of the government during COVID-19 [outbreak], not five lakh, but 40 lakh Indians died," he added while sharing a screenshot of the NYT article.
Addressing PM Modi directly, Gandhi further reminded him to fulfill his promise of providing an ex gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh for COVID-19 deaths to all the affected families. "Fulfill your responsibility, Modi ji — provide a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to every [COVID-19] victim's family," the Congress leader said in his tweet.
मोदी जी ना सच बोलते हैं, ना बोलने देते हैं।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 17, 2022
वो तो अब भी झूठ बोलते हैं कि oxygen shortage से कोई नहीं मरा!
मैंने पहले भी कहा था - कोविड में सरकार की लापरवाहियों से 5 लाख नहीं, 40 लाख भारतीयों की मौत हुई।
फ़र्ज़ निभाईये, मोदी जी - हर पीड़ित परिवार को ₹4 लाख का मुआवज़ा दीजिए। pic.twitter.com/ZYKiSK2XMJ
The NYT article shared by Gandhi alleged the release of the World Health Organization's global COVID-19 death estimates was delayed due to objections from India, which challenged the estimates. It claimed India's toll is at least four million (or 40L)—as per WHO estimates. "More than a third of the additional nine million [uncounted global] deaths are estimated to have occurred in India," it alleged.
India on Saturday responded to the NYT story and questioned the WHO's methodology for calculating its COVID-19 deaths. In a statement, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry said the WHO's mathematical model for Tier 2 countries can't be used for a large country like India. It stated the disparity in the WHO's estimates and its count raises questions over their validity and accuracy.
The death toll from COVID-19 infections in India has grown to 5,21,751 on Sunday, according to data published by the Union Health Ministry. India reported 1,150 new coronavirus infections and four fresh fatalities on Sunday, while the active cases in the country jumped to 11,558. According to the ministry's statistics, India's total COVID-19 cases surged to 4,30,42,097 on Sunday.