Gandhinagar: After a local newspaper reported that deaths due to COVID show higher than the Gujarat government's official figures, Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday alleged that the central government in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the actual numbers of new infections and Covid-related deaths.
Addressing a press conference virtually, Chidambaram demanded that "the difference between the increase in the number of death certificates (65,805) and the official Covid-related deaths (4,218) in Gujarat must be explained.
"It cannot be explained as 'natural annual increase' or 'due to other causes'. We have a strong suspicion that the bulk of the increased number of deaths is due to Covid and the state government is suppressing the true number of 18 Covid-related deaths," Chidambaram said.
Hitting out at the government, Chidambaram said that the party's suspicions were confirmed by the fact that hundreds of unidentified bodies have been found floating on the river Ganga and nearly 2,000 unidentified bodies have been found buried on the sands along the river Ganga.
Chidambaram also added that Central government and the Gujarat government owe an explanation to the people of India.
"We demand answers and an explanation," he said
Chidambaram also said that the National Human Rights Commission should collect the true numbers from every state about the death certificate issued last year and this year.
Rubbishing the allegation, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, the minister of home on Saturday explained that there has been faulty reporting regarding the number of deaths this year .According to Jadeja, the Gujarat government is following the procedure which is followed by all states regarding the deaths registered under the Covid protocols.
The minister also urged media not to create a panic through such reporting far from truth and said the news reports are baseless. But when the Minister was asked to provide the real figures, he did not disclose the real data concerning the issue and tried to evade the questions, reports IANS.
The report published on Friday in a Gujarathi newspaper namely Divya Bhaskar alleged that the number of death certificates issued between March 1 and May 10 in the state were almost 61,000 in excess compared to the same period last year.
The report said that local bodies in Gujarat had issued 1,23,871 death certificates between March 1 and May 10, compared to 58,000 in the same period last year. The report was based on disclosures by Municipalities in 33 districts and eight Municipal corporations.
The report also added that in the same period, death certificates issued by each of the 33 districts for Covid-19 fatalities came to 4,218. So it tried to establish that during the second wave of the pandemic, the deaths were more than double.
The newspaper's report on Friday, which highlighted a possible under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths was similar to excess-deaths studies conducted in many parts of the world that showed a rise in accounted deaths during the pandemic.