(In consultation with the activists of the People’s Doctors’ and Health Volunteers’ Forum, a proposal for forming village/ town protection committees is sent for your discussion and implementation by uniting with like minded forces wherever possible. As the harvest time has reached, such an action shall be of immense help to the rural masses. It will provide protection for them from the illegal and criminal activities of the police and corrupt government officers which is increasing rampantly utilizing the crisis ridden situation created by the COVID 19 pandemic. Please start implementing it wherever possible according to concrete conditions, in consultation with the people – KN)
You all know that we in India are in the midst of a serious health crisis due to COVID 19 pandemic. COVID is spreading fast throughout the world and by today the number of Americans affected had crossed that of all other countries in the world. Even though the number is relatively low in India, it is bound to affect us very severely soon.
This virus did not come to India from China,. When two months back 200 Indian students were brought back directly from Wuhan, only one student in Kerala tested positive. It mainly came from Europe and America. The government of India could have screened and stopped the epidemic in International Airports, but the chance was lost. Then, the government responded hurriedly, may be after instructions from America, by announcing a Janatha curfew for one day. The curfew was then extended in different states for two days, and then to three weeks from 24th midnight. This curfew is imposed without the minimum arrangements put in place. This had already led to a big havoc. Thousands of students, unorganized workers and migrant labourers were displaced and were thrown out on to the streets. Police started beating everybody indiscriminately, in the name of imposing order to prevent the spread of epidemic. Prices of essential items skyrocketed and are also not available in sufficient quantities. Essential medicines, including surgical spirit and simple masks have disappeared from the market, only to surface later at many times their original price. Government had closed down many hospitals and many private hospitals too got closed down on their own. Stay home, stay home and stay home has become the only manthra.
Modi Government has committed three gross mistakes in this respect. They are:
- Passengers coming from abroad were not screened.
- Indiscriminate and illogical shut down was declared without any preparations.
- Hospitals were either shut down, or not prepared to face the new challenge.
In this hour of crisis, partly because of the virus and mainly because of the anti people central government policies the people of India are thrown into grave danger. To overcome this hitherto unheard of crisis, we appeal to all rural folk to immediately constitute ‘Village Protection Committees” and implement the following policies, in order to protect the villages from COVID19 reaching there, and for protecting from it.
- Isolate your village by strictly initiating surveillance on all new comers.
- Take people from all castes and communities into confidence and initiate widespread discussions. These discussions should happen in a calm and confident way without creating panic to the slightest.
- Educate everybody that safety could only be achieved by collective effort and that safety at individual level is a myth.
- Monitor all sick people and make a register.
- Notify any person if he had the following history.
- Travel abroad
- Travel to a metro or airport
- Contact with a COVID confirmed patient.
- Notify any person if he/she had the following symptoms a. Fever b. Cough c. Breathlessness d. Sore throat 7. Individual hygiene should be popularized. Hand washing technique should be taught and be encouraged to be practised repeatedly in a day.
- Demand the local government for surgical spirit and masks.
- Masks could be easily manufactured in every village. Masks are means of moral support and should be cautioned that they do not offer much protection.
- In the absence of Diagnostic Kits, local doctors should be demanded to provide x-ray and SpO2 facilities.
- A control room should be established in every mandal / cluster of villages. All village protection committees should be in contact with the cluster control room.
- ICMR had authorized the use of Hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis. Demand the local government authorities to supply them in adequate quantities.
While taking these medical measures, it is of utmost importance to maintain and continue the economic activity of the village. In many areas of the country, it is harvesting season and people cannot avoid work and leave the crops to winds. This would lead to severe economic crisis, one which has broken down in all capitalist countries. No productive activity should be thrown into disarray. In view of the prevailing situation, utmost and scientific precautions should be taught to the whole population at a lightning pace.
We propose the following measures to be taken to keep the productive activity to be running as near to normal as possible.
- All agricultural activities to be continued.
- Nobody should be allowed to gather in larger groups of more than four.
- A distance of one metre should be maintained between every two persons.
- All crops should be harvested and properly secured.
- Marketing should be done collectively taking the village as a unit. Public or private buyers should be allowed into the village once a day and in a planned and secure way.
- All essential commodities should be collected and supplied in a collective way through the Village Protection Committee.
- The requirements should be assessed by the VPC and should be procured with the help of the local governmental agencies.
- Hygiene of the village should be taken up by the VPC and implemented mandatorily and in a collective way.
- Each and every individual should be taken care of economically. Everyone should remember that poverty is the best friend of corona virus.
- Small loans without interest should be arranged for the needy and destitute.
Corona virus has become one of the biggest teachers of humanity. It has become very clear that we can survive and beat back this challenge only collectively and at an international level. It has become very clear that all capitalist economies have crumbled before this pandemic. It has shattered every capitalist country from Italy to America. Only countries that had once raised a red flag in their history could beat back this virus. It is simply because they have a collective consciousness and a resolute approach in times of danger. China, in spite of all its capitalist deviations, had given an example to the world how it had fought with military zeal and contained the virus to Wuhan and finally almost eradicated it from its soil.
Like the capitalist countries in Europe, the US has brought before us another glaring and negative example. America was ridiculing China when its people were facing corona virus at the time of gravest danger, to the extent of slandering that Wuhan people were deprived of freedom and human rights. In the second period, America was trying to sling the mud on China that it did not alert the world community. US went to the extent of trying to name the COVID 19 virus as Wuhan virus, or China virus which was summarily rejected by others in G 12 group. US condemned the positive assessment of WHO on the way Chinese government had confined and controlled the epidemic to Wuhan. In the third phase, the mighty US has started begging other countries for help.
Indian government, which proved to be a junior partner of the Imperialist masters, amassed few lakhs of people to greet President Trump at the end of February 2020, when from 28th January the Kerala government had detected the first COVID case and had alerted the Modi government to take urgent action at all India level to prevent its spread.What Modi government did is a gross violation of WHO guidelines and warnings. And, later as a knee jerk reaction and typical of the ruling class mentality, the Indian government has now imposed 21 days’ curfew on the country which is going to aggravate the situation very badly.
In this hour of crisis, we appeal to all village and small towns’ people to form village or town protection committees to save your own village. For several reasons, villages /small towns will be better centers for showing the way to urban regions.
Do not expect much from the government;
Save your own village/towns.
CPI(ML) Red Star,
dated 27th March.