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Covid-19: Plea to restrain UP gov't from acting against people seeking oxygen, beds on social media

The plea was filed by activist Saket Gokhale before the Allahabad HC after a recent incident where a young boy was booked for seeking help on social media for leads on oxygen cylinders for his grandfather

Sabrangindia 29 Apr 2021

Saket gokhale

A plea has been filed by activist Saket Gokhale before the Allahabad High Court seeking directions that the UP government be restrained from taking coercive action against persons making appeals for oxygen supply or hospital beds or essential drugs for COVID treatment. He has sought protection of independent volunteers who are helping Covid-19 patients and their families by collecting information on oxygen and medicine availability on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, reported LiveLaw.

In the past few days social media platforms have been rife with a barrage of appeals being made by people desperate from medical facilities like ambulance or oxygen supply for their loved ones, and filled with people coming forward to help and build resources so people can access them. The second surge of Covid cases has hit like a storm and people are scrambling for resources as governance has failed in many states, including UP, in providing basic health care to the public.

"Filing criminal cases against families of critical patients issuing SOS calls for oxygen on social media is a gross misuse of the powers of the state and is illegal coercive action that is being taken to "maintain the image of the government" and to clamp down on any criticism of their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and to present a fake picture that everything is hunky dory in the state," the plea states, reports LiveLaw.

Gokhale, in his plea, cites a recent incident where a young boy was booked under IPC for “spreading false information” while he was merely looking for leads on Twitter for oxygen cylinders to save his grandfather’s life.

Gokhale asserts that threatening families of Covid patients is preventing them from reaching out for help. He said, “There can be no greater and illegal violation by the State (Respondent) in depriving people of their fundamental rights to life as well as free expression on the frivolous grounds that "it portrays a negative impression of the Govt of Uttar Pradesh”.

While the Yogi Adityanath led UP government continues to maintain that there is no shortage of resources like beds and oxygen, the reality on ground paints a murkier picture. Even the Allahabad High Court refused to accept the government’s assertions and assurances that everything is under control, and remarked that nothing remarkable has been achieved in health infrastructure to people’s satisfaction and issued quite a few directions to the government for handling the crisis.

In fact, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while arguing in a case before the Supreme Court quipped that people are unable to secure beds in UP, in complete contrast to the claims made by Yogi Adityanath a couple of days ago claiming no shortage of beds.

Related:

Who is to blame, 135 people, including teachers die on election duty in UP?

Allahabad HC asks SEC to explain deaths of 135 persons on election duty due to Covid

Covid-19: Plea to restrain UP gov't from acting against people seeking oxygen, beds on social media

The plea was filed by activist Saket Gokhale before the Allahabad HC after a recent incident where a young boy was booked for seeking help on social media for leads on oxygen cylinders for his grandfather

Saket gokhale

A plea has been filed by activist Saket Gokhale before the Allahabad High Court seeking directions that the UP government be restrained from taking coercive action against persons making appeals for oxygen supply or hospital beds or essential drugs for COVID treatment. He has sought protection of independent volunteers who are helping Covid-19 patients and their families by collecting information on oxygen and medicine availability on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, reported LiveLaw.

In the past few days social media platforms have been rife with a barrage of appeals being made by people desperate from medical facilities like ambulance or oxygen supply for their loved ones, and filled with people coming forward to help and build resources so people can access them. The second surge of Covid cases has hit like a storm and people are scrambling for resources as governance has failed in many states, including UP, in providing basic health care to the public.

"Filing criminal cases against families of critical patients issuing SOS calls for oxygen on social media is a gross misuse of the powers of the state and is illegal coercive action that is being taken to "maintain the image of the government" and to clamp down on any criticism of their handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and to present a fake picture that everything is hunky dory in the state," the plea states, reports LiveLaw.

Gokhale, in his plea, cites a recent incident where a young boy was booked under IPC for “spreading false information” while he was merely looking for leads on Twitter for oxygen cylinders to save his grandfather’s life.

Gokhale asserts that threatening families of Covid patients is preventing them from reaching out for help. He said, “There can be no greater and illegal violation by the State (Respondent) in depriving people of their fundamental rights to life as well as free expression on the frivolous grounds that "it portrays a negative impression of the Govt of Uttar Pradesh”.

While the Yogi Adityanath led UP government continues to maintain that there is no shortage of resources like beds and oxygen, the reality on ground paints a murkier picture. Even the Allahabad High Court refused to accept the government’s assertions and assurances that everything is under control, and remarked that nothing remarkable has been achieved in health infrastructure to people’s satisfaction and issued quite a few directions to the government for handling the crisis.

In fact, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while arguing in a case before the Supreme Court quipped that people are unable to secure beds in UP, in complete contrast to the claims made by Yogi Adityanath a couple of days ago claiming no shortage of beds.

Related:

Who is to blame, 135 people, including teachers die on election duty in UP?

Allahabad HC asks SEC to explain deaths of 135 persons on election duty due to Covid

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