New Delhi: In a letter to the Director/Secretary, Delhi Health Department, Delhi Minorities Commission has asked it to drop any mention of religious undertones in its daily bulletins on coronavirus cases in Delhi.
The DMC Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan said in his letter “Your bulletins of Coronavirus victims are showing a separate column ‘Markaz Masjid’. Such thoughtless classification is feeding into the Islamophobia agenda of the lap media and Hindutva forces and has been easily turned into a handle to attack Muslims across the country. As a result, Muslims are being attacked in various areas, calls are being made for their social boycott, one boy has been lynched in the North-West Delhi village of Harewali, others attacked.”
The DMC letter further said, “World Health Organisation has taken cognisance of this phenomenon, unique to India. WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan said on 6 April 2020: ‘Countries should not profile novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in terms of religion or any other criteria.’ Two days later he asked governments not to politicise the issue and stop profiling people on a religious basis. The Indian Union health ministry followed suit and said in its advisory on 8 April 2020: ‘Despite all precautions, if anybody catches the infection, it is not their fault. In a situation of distress, the patient and the family need support and cooperation.” Further, the advisory requested citizens to ‘never spread names or identity of those affected or under quarantine or their locality on the social media’”.
The DMC letter made an earnest request to the Delhi Department of Health to stop mention of any data which has religious undertones and which can be exploited for political or communal purposes by vested interests.