March 30, 2020 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: A shameful vilifying campaign against Baldev Singh of Pathlava village and his family is joined by various Indian media outlets and international media outlets like AlJazeera and BBC. Both platforms have carried highly misleading reports vilifying Baldev Singh who was confirmed as COVID19 positive a day after his death on March 19.
The reports carried by both AlJazeera and BBC lack even basic journalistic ethics and Baldev Singh is labeled as “super-spreader”.
AlJazeera went on a a Sikh, has been wrongfully termed as “guru”. Moreover BBC and AlJazeera have labeled Baldev Singh as “super-spreader”.
Notably, both AlJazeera and BBC have quoted Punjab police officials and AlJazeera as step ahead by referring to a “song” sung by Punjabi singer Sidhu Musewala, which attempts to vilify Baldev Singh under giving him a pseudo name Gurbaksh Gavacha.
BBC has referred to an official, whose name is not disclosed in the report, while reporting that: “[t]he man, a preacher, had ignored advice to self quarantine after returning from a trip to Italy and Germany, officials told BBC Punjabi’s Arvind Chhabra”.
AlJazeera reported: “[t]he guru and his two associates – who have also tested positive – ignored self-isolation orders on their return from Europe, and were on their preaching tour until Singh fell ill and died”.
Notably, on 27 March BBC reported that 40,000 people have been quarantined because of Baldev Singh Pathlava but on 28 March AlJazeera reported that 15,000 people are quarantined because of Baldev Singh.
Actually, a motivated vilification campaign is on against late Baldev Singh and his entire family. Those carrying or backing this campaign, including the Punjab police, BBC and AlJazeera are claiming that he and his family knew that he was having Covid-19 infection but they concealed.
This vilification campaign not only reflects insensitivity but utter stupidity also. This also shows how conveniently people can ignore some simple facts. In fact it amounts to blaming and shaming the victim rather than pointing out the big blunders of the government system.
Can those who have started the campaign against Baldev Singh, abusing him cursing him, tell if there was an aggressive awareness campaign about home-quarantining people barring thermal checking at airports till March 7 when he landed?
Simple folks rather took it that they were fine after the “checking” at airport.
Baldev Singh and his two co-travellers reached their village Pathlawa on March 7. District health officials received the list from Ministry of External Affairs (via state Home Dept) on March 13, which also included names of the three, of those who have arrived from abroad.
Notice – it took six days. (blame it on Baldev Singh?) A team of Health department first reached out to him on March 14. They checked on him and he was fine.
It must be pointed here that before this Baldev Singh had already attended Hola Mohalla. Moreover, now more than 14 days have passed since Holla Mohalla and not even a single case has surfaced where a persons got injection from third source during Holla Mohalla. What’s logic in referring to Baldev Singh’s visit to Holla Mohalla now, expect to vilify him?
It is also important to note here that Baldev Singh was a simple rural folk. Whether Punjab police, Indian media, AlJazeera and BBC want to say that they were expecting from a 70 year old rural folk to remain updated about warning from the experts on March 7 when even policy makers were reacting slowly to the pandemic? Or they simply lack guts to point the failures of policy makers and the government administration and see Baldev Singh a soft target to blame on?
On March 16 Baldev Singh falls sick and after visiting a couple of private hospitals lands in Civil Hospital Jalandhar. If doctors at Civil Hospital missed Covid-19 part, you blame Baldev Singh that he knew that he had COVID19 infection? Where was the occasion when he could know about this?.
Health department team sees him on March 14 and he lands in hospital two days later. He died due to heart attack and was found COVID19 positive after his demise.
In case he knew, then would a 70 year old deliberately infect his children and grand-children? Remember almost his entire family including a 2 year old child have tested positive and just imagine their mental trauma.
Moreover those carrying out vilifying campaign against Baldev Singh are claiming that he attended a function at village Mehatpur. Official machinery has found that it was a plain lie.
Even on March 19 (a day after his death and when his report was already out) his two co-travellers had been meeting people and one of them told that it was only on that day they were told to isolate themselves. Blame Baldev Singh for it?
Baldev Singh did not do anything like Kanika Kapoor to deliberately duck thermal screening at airport or something similar done by son of an IAS officer of Bengal, who also later tested positive.
Baldev Singh was a patient who fell victim to an infection and died. Is it really ethical to shame and blame a victim (a 70 year old rural folk) and his entire family, who are themselves victims?
Pathlawa Sarpanch Condemns Vilification Campaign Against Baldev Singh and His Family:
Harpal Singh said that the whole campaign was based on lies about a dead man, who was being maligned to divert attention from failures of the government.
He said his cousin, whose audio conversation accusing Baldev Singh of hiding information about coronavirus infection had gone viral and became a major reason for the vilification campaign, was based in Dubai and “was not even aware of the facts and went just by hearsay”.
“Baldev Singh was a gentleman and was inclined towards sewa (service). It is painful for his family and for all of us in the village that he is being maligned by spreading falsehoods. Now, the state government is further fuelling this campaign against a dead patient through Punjab Police to cover failures of the government at different level,” Sarpanch Harpal Singh said.
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