INDIA: COVID – 19 – When a family, in personal touch with the Prime Minister, pleads for justice: (In) Human tales of the pandemic

There are no dearth of horrible tales of blood and tears from India, the epicentre of the second wave of COVID-19. The country’s daily case load crossed 400,000 once while steadily hovering over 300,000 for almost 2 weeks with over 3,000 deaths for almost a week. This is despite the fact that there are serious doubts about the veracity of the statistics. Both the local and the world media are accusing the Government of under-reporting both COVID cases and COVID deaths.

Here is one heart-wrenching story of the Pandit Channulal family. They are one of the greatest names in Indian classical music and a Padma Vibhushana (India’s second highest honour) awardee.

Millions of hapless Indians were devastated as much by the pandemic as by the Government’s policies. It all started with the first lockdown. It pulled them out of the slums, snatched their jobs and left them on the roads to die–with no end to all this agony in sight.

Millions more who are, or at least were, far better off than their lesser cousins are facing the brunt of searching, often in vain, for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, basic medicines et al. Many of them are dying on the road–in their cars or on makeshift carts, waiting outside a hospital to gain admission.

Panditji is not one of them. As we mentioned earlier, he is a Padma Vibhushna awardee. He is also very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is on personal terms with him. Mr. Modi touches his feet in public. Panditji was also one of the four proposers when Mr. Modi contested the Parliamentary election from Varanasi.

In a span of just a week, Panditji lost, first, his wife and then his eldest sister to the pandemic.

The family is accusing the hospital of gross negligence, ill treatment and extortion after his daughter, Smt Sangeeta Mishra, was admitted. Panditji’s younger daughter, Smt Namrata Mishra broke down in the hospital’s lobby after being repeatedly denied CCTV footage (at the time of admission). The Hospital informed the family that they cannot visit the patient as she was in isolation. However, they can see her on CCTV every day from 2 to 4 PM. They later claimed that the CCTV broke down.

Ms. Namrata claimed that she was repeatedly misled and misinformed about the treatment, denied all information including reports and medication. She also alleged that the family saw their sister only once, on a conference call, after the personal intervention of the Prime Minister.

She then pleads with the Prime minister on camera with folded hands: Prime Minister, Sir, you touched the feet of my father. He, too, loves and blesses you.



Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AHRC-STM-007-2021
Countries : India,
Issues : Administration of justice, Democracy, Right to health, Right to life, Rule of law,