The collective behaviour of Indians during the Covid-19 pandemic has been hypocritical at best and criminal at worst. On the one hand, many of us would not even care to put on a mask — an act that needs the very minimum of physical and financial strain – and maintain physical distance from others to shield us from infection, and on the other, if the virus strikes us, we would demand that the government should be ready round the clock with modern infrastructure to treat us and, preferably for free.
An old adage tells us that if we point a finger at someone, all the other fingers point at us. The government was right in slapping penalty on more than 35,000 people for flouting Covid norms since unlocking began in New Delhi on May 31 and realised more than Rs 7.1 crore as fine and arresting 2,587 offenders. At least 509 shopkeepers have been booked for violating municipality guidelines in the capital in the last few weeks. In states such as West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, police are prosecuting those who are violating restrictions.
There is urgent need for crackdown by all governments on a few to save a huge number of people. The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 has provisions for arrest.
Ever since the country became independent nothing perhaps, the wars and influx of refugees included, strained its resources in the manner the pandemic did. The virus is continuously challenging the combined knowledge and skill of all the scientists in the world. The last thing we need is callousness on the part of some of our fellowmen to spread the infection in society. If the government is expected to take responsibility to vaccinate and treat the citizens, it should also be allowed to discipline errant fellowmen.
Liberty, after all, is a social contract and not an absolute freedom.
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