West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, does not discriminate on the basis of caste or religion, reported PTI on Wednesday. The chief minister made the comments while refusing to divulge information on those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi last month, which has triggered a spike in the number of cases in the country.
“Don’t ask communal questions,” she said during a press briefing on Tuesday when asked if all those who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event had been identified in the state. “Bengal is not a place for communal activities. This is no time for communal politics, disease doesn’t discriminate on basis of caste or religion.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Information Technology cell chief Amit Malviya has alleged that Banerjee was pandering to her vote bank. “Mamata Banerjee when asked for an update on Tablighi cases said, ‘Don’t ask communal questions’,” Malviya tweeted. “Jamaat cases have exploded across, but no clarity on the latest numbers in Bengal. How many of them traced and tested. Results? No update at all! Has she made this about vote bank?”
On Monday, Malviya had claimed that the Banerjee-led administration had not divulged the complete figures in the state related to the pandemic. He also alleged that hospitals in West Bengal had been pressured to under-report coronavirus figures.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal chief minister has said a total of 71 Covid-19 patients are being treated in the state. The Union ministry of health has confirmed a total of 99 cases in West Bengal. Of these, 13 people have recovered, and five have died.
On the extension of the nationwide lockdown, Banerjee claimed she was unaware if it will be extended or not. “But when it is relaxed, there will be many who would want to return to their homes,” she said, according to India Today. “But we will take precautions. These people will be kept in isolation centres or safe houses.”
The 21-day nationwide lockdown is expected to end on April 15, but several states have advised against it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reportedly said that the lockdown may have to be extended to control the spread of Covid-19. On Wednesday evening, India had a total of 5,274 cases, of which 411 have recovered, and 149 people have died, according to the Union health ministry.