Kerala Chief Minister spreads canards to discredit media report about starving migrant workers in Wayanad after 'Organiser Report' rattled Congress and CPM but Organiser stands by its report
On April 6, 2020, Organiser on the news portal had reported that Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani’s timely intervention saved as many as 35 starving migrant workers, including two natives of Amethi, who were left stranded in Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad (LSC), amid Coronavirus lockdown.
As soon as the incident was brought to the attention of the office of Smt Smriti Irani, the officials coordinated with the External Affairs Minister Shri Muralidheeran’s office and the Kerala unit of Sewa Bharati on March 31. As a result, on the same day, some Sewa Bharati karyakartas reached out to the stranded daily wagers, around 35 odd people and provided the affected labourers, , with rice bags and other grocery items.
Close on the heels of the report by Organiser, several other national media platforms and news agencies carried the news after cross-checking the facts. The report appears to have irked the CPM-Congress leadership as it, at a time, exposed Rahul Gandhi's laxity and brought much disgrace to CPM's Kerala Model propaganda. In response, Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan questioned the veracity of the report carried in Organiser and challenged it with alternative facts and cooked up inquiry reports! In a press conference on April 8, Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan said: "Saw a propaganda piece being circulated through 'Organiser' of RSS saying that the timely intervention of Smriti Irani helped the starving workers from Amethi. Just want to make one thing clear. The State has been assisting the guest workers and all other hard-hit people of the state.”
"When we enquired about it, we found that 41 guest workers (migrant workers) were staying together at a place and the panchayat officials had provided 25 kits to them as they had stated that they would cook for themselves. There was no shortage of food there," he said.
The Organiser stands by its fact-based report and challenges the Chief Minister of Kerala to contest it with facts, not with typical Straw Man arguments and Goebbelsian propaganda, the obsolete Nazi-Soviet propaganda tools, which are no longer fit for purpose in a democracy like India
The said report was based on an incident that happened on March 31. Besides, the report has already mentioned that Seva Bharati had reached out to the labourers before March 31 and ensured them an uninterrupted supply of food even in future. The Seva Bharati volunteers not only provided the starving labourers with rice bags and other grocery items, but reported the incident to the local police and made all arrangements for food from a nearby community kitchen. The report was based on clear evidence of communication between the concerned leaders and photo-video evidence of the service activity of Seva Bharati.
However, Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan stooped to a new low and distorted the facts by putting forth a Straw Man argument that the report is all about the current situation, ignoring the unfortunate situation prevailed over there before March 31.
Following the Organiser report, the local Congress workers in Karuvarakundu Panchayat, a part of Rahul Gandhi’s Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, made desperate attempts to discredit the efforts of Seva Bharati by churning out outright lies. Instead of inquiring into the situation prevailed over there before March 31, the Kerala Chief Minister bought the propaganda cooked up by the local Congress-Muslim leaders and ruled out the report appeared in the Organiser as fake.
In a video released by Organiser on April 6, along with the report, the contractor who was supposed to take care of the labourers, can be heard explaining the details to the migrant labourers that the help reached them after the intervention of the ministry of Union Textile Minister and their local MP Smt. Smriti Irani. Ironically, the same person reappeared in propaganda videos aired by pro-Congress local media outlets two days ago, possibly under political pressure, only to negate the service rendered by the Seva Bharati.
In the same video clip released by the propoganda machinery, a police officer can be heard saying that we came to inspect the labour quarter, following news reports suggesting that ‘migrant workers are left abandoned without food. However, we found that there are enough rice and groceries stocked here.’ This statement itself exposes that the terms of references of the enquiry committee, which was aimed at whitewashing the state government’s lapses in handling the welfare of the migrant workers, was based on a false premise.
Amusingly, the Chief Minister of Kerala dared to contest a fact-based report published by India’s oldest nationalist weekly, Organiser with a fake inquiry report. The Organiser stands by its report and challenges the Chief Minister of Kerala to contest it with facts, not with typical Straw Man arguments and Goebbelsian propaganda, the obsolete Nazi-Soviet propaganda tools, which are no longer fit for purpose in a democracy like India. The Organiser also appeals to a section of puppet journalists and paid media outlets that reported ‘Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan debunked the media report’, to check their facts and adhere to the real spirit of journalism.
The Seva Bharati leadership has already appealed that its activities should not be politicised and the service rendered by the Seva Bharati is in coordination with the state/central administration and it does not wish to run a system parallel to the Government. On March 30, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had interacted with representatives of various organisations working towards social welfare, via video conference. Suresh Bhaiyya Ji Joshi, Sarkaryavah of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Baba Ramdev of Patanjali Ayurved, Syedna Muttadal of Dawoodi Bohra Community, Syed Naseeruddin Chisthy of Ajmer Dargah, Swami Suviranandaji Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission etc were part of the interaction.
The Prime Minister had commended the role of social organisations being played during the Corona crisis and had observed that these organisations have three distinct specialities: humane approach, massive reach and connect with people and a service mindset, due to which they are trusted. He also said that as the nation is facing an unprecedented crisis, we need the service of these organisations and their resources like never before. He had urged the organisations to play a key role in arranging basic necessities for the poor and dedicate their medical facilities and volunteers to serving the needy.
Therefore, the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic is a collective effort. Social organisations have a greater role to play in India in the coming days. So far in history, Bharat has never hesitated to take the social organisations and private players on board as far as crisis management is concerned. Bringing everything under the control of the state and downplaying the role of social organisations primarily emanate from a Communist mindset. Being a Chief Minister of a state of the Indian Union, Vijayan has no reason to feel ashamed to recognise the service activities piloted by Seva Bharati and other social organisations in his state during the Corona pandemic. Instead of playing partisan politics in the time of the pandemic, when millions of human lives are at stake, the Left Government in Kerala must endeavour to bring in better synergy and coordination between the state machinery and social organisations.