For nearly two weeks now, fuel prices have been soaring in India. Wednesday saw a fourteenth increase – of 80 paise, yet again. In neighbouring Sri Lanka, where an unprecedented economic crisis is unfolding, fuel, gas and other essential supplies are in acute short supply.
Not surprisingly, cartoonists in both Sri Lanka and India have found dark humour in the situation
In India, government ministers and leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been defending the steep increase in prices and cited a range of reasons for the hikes, from the sanctions on oil-rich Russia after its invasion of Ukraine to high state taxes.
In one of his cartoonists, Alok made a reference to a viral video of a motorist vehmently defending the hike in prices.
Petrol and diesel prices have increased by Rs 10 since Assembly elections results in five states were declared on March 11.
Sandeep Adhwaryu of The Times of India invoked actor Will Smith hitting comedian Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony on March 28, drawing a parallel between the film awards and the election results.
Almost every increase in fuel prices since the last fortnight has been to the tune of 80 paise. Pen Pencil Draw drew up a brand new coin for the government to consider.
On Thursday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the country’s debt and inflation were worrying and alleged that the policies of the BJP would lead India into a crisis just like the one Sri Lanka is battling. Mansoor Naqvi of the Dainik Bhaskar drew parallels with the precarious situation across the Palk Straits.
In Sri Lanka, on the other hand some cartoons referred to India supplying fuel to the island nation.
Others underlined the severity of the energy crisis. In February, Sri Lanka decided to buy 40,000 tonnes of petrol and diesel from the Indian Oil Corporation. But Indian fuel is more expensive than the offerings of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.
Wasantha Siriwardena drew on reports of people dying while waiting in queue to buy petrol.