Kamal Haasan hits out at Narendra Modi’s handling of COVID-19 crisis

Published : April 06, 2020 19:10 IST

Kamal Haasan. Photo: PTI

Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decisions since the coronavirus outbreak, which have affected the poor and the less fortunate and bluntly told him that his vision has failed. “You can be and shall be blamed for this,” he said, in the most direct attack on the Prime Minister by a political party to date.

“Everytime there is a feeling that we have a chance to arrest the slide, you seem to be sliding into your comfort zone of unleashing a spirited election-style campaign idea. It seems you are comfortable outsourcing responsible behavior to the common people and transparency to the State governments,” he said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

At a time when actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikant, Pawan Kalyan, Mohan Lal and others have been praising Modi’s efforts and the Indian government’s decisions, and at a time when politicians, corporate honchos, sportspersons and even civil society leaders have been showering praise on the Prime Minister, Kamal Haasan, in a no-holds-barred attack, highlighted the plight of the masses, taking on Modi.“Your government and its appointees seem to be expending all their energies on a combative response to any feedback or constructive criticism. Sane, well-wishing voices with national interests in mind get quickly, intentionally and clinically drowned by the trolls of your army and are dubbed anti-national,” he said in a three-page statement released here on April 6.

Faulting the delayed and poor response to the crisis, he said that though India’s first case was reported on January 30, no lessons were learnt from this. “When we eventually woke out of our slumber, you ordered an entire nation of 1.4 billion people to shut down within four hours. A mere 4 hour notice period for the people when you had a 4 month notice period!” he pointed out.

Drawing parallels with demonetisation, and laying out in the open his fears that the same mistake was being done again, he said: “While demonetisation led to loss of savings and livelihood of the poorest, this ill-planned lockdown is leading us to a fatal combination of loss of both life and livelihood.” Referring to the drama of lighting a lamp at 9 p.m. for nine minutes on April 5, as a “psychotherapy technique” to address first-world anxiety problems of the “haves”, he said: “While your world lit up oil diyas in their balconies, the poor are struggling to gather enough oil to bake their next roti.”

Directly accusing Prime Minister Modi of not taking action when it was needed, he said that “long into the epidemic, when the entire country’s law and order system had been primed, your system failed to stop congregations of ignorant and foolish people in different parts of the country. These have become the biggest hubs for the spread of the epidemic in India.”

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