Congress targets Centre over COVID-19 deaths, says Gujarat should explain increase of over 65,000 death certificates
New Delhi [India], May 15, 2021 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday said it has strong suspicion that "the Centre, in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and COVID-related deaths" and said Gujarat government should explain the difference between the increase in the number of death certificates (65,805) and the official COVID-related deaths (4,218) between March 1 and May 10 this year.
Addressing a press conference here through video conference, Congress leaders P Chidamabaram and Shaktisinh Gohil cited a news story in a Gujarati newspaper which said that the state issued about 1,23,000 death certificates between March 1 and May 10 this year as against about 58,000 death certificates issued during the same period last year.
"The increase was an alarming number of about 65,000 death certificates. This increase cannot be explained as a natural annual increase in the number of deaths. It can only be attributed to a pandemic or any other natural disaster," Chidambaram said.
The Congress leaders said they have independently verified the two numbers for the period of 71 days and the numbers they have collected from 33 districts in Gujarat for death certificates were 1,23,873 in 2021 versus 58,068 in 2020 and nearly tally with the numbers mentioned in the news story.
"During the period March 1, 2021 to May 10, 2021, the government of Gujarat has officially admitted to only 4,218 COVID-related deaths. The difference between the increase in the number of death certificates (65,805) and the official COVID-related deaths (4,218) must be explained. It cannot be explained as 'natural annual increase' or 'due to other causes'. We have a strong suspicion that the bulk of the increased number of deaths is due to COVID and the state government is suppressing the true number of COVID-related deaths," Chidambaram said.
The Congress leaders said their suspicions are confirmed "by the fact that hundreds of unidentified bodies have been found floating on the river Ganga and nearly 2000 unidentified bodies have been found buried on the sands along Ganga".
"We have a strong suspicion that the Government of India, in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and COVID-related deaths. If our suspicions are true, this is a grave misdeed apart from being a national shame and a national tragedy" Chidambaram said.
"The Government of India and the Government of Gujarat owe an explanation to the people of India. We demand answers and an explanation," he added. (ANI)