New York Times Article on India’s Covid Response ‘Provocative’, ‘Attention-seeking’: Health Ministry
People stand in a queue to registered themselves to get inoculated with a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, during a special vaccination camp at Yamuna Pushta, in New Delhi Sept. 15. (ANI photo)
NEW DELHI – Addressing a media briefing on the prevailing Covid situation in the country, the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Balram Bhargava, Sept. 16 termed a recent New York Times article on India’s Covid response as “provocative” and “attention-seeking.”
The article published in New York Times had claimed that the “ICMR tailored its findings to fit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s optimistic narrative despite a looming crisis.”
Responding to a question, Bhargava said, “This is a provocative and attention-seeking article published at a time when India is doing good and our vaccination drive is also excellent. It is aimed at diverting attention. All the issues raised are dead ones and probably do not merit any attention.”
“We greatly value journalistic and editorial freedom. But at the same time we must also realize that all of us, including the Union government and the state governments, are fully engaged in fighting the pandemic and all our energy and time is devoted to that,” said Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan.
“We cannot afford to get diverted by things that can be addressed at a later date, or which are not a priority from the public health point of view,” Bhushan added.
Condemning the article, NITI Aayog member (Health) V.K. Paul said, “We condemn such distorted and out of context reporting. This is not desirable.”