Suspension of IPL - an Overdue Decision

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 4, 2021

The IPL is being suspended now in the wake of several players testing positive for COVID. This occurred despite the prior claims of the bio bubbles being an effective way to prevent transmission. 

Despite many accusation of insensitivity, the BCCI were content to let the IPL go on until this development. This is despite the massive COVID crisis India is suffering through.

As Indians on social media clamored for help due to the lack of beds and oxygen in the hospitals in the middle of the pandemic, names of cricketers fill the headlines. The IPL has always been a massive event in India. However, in the wake of a global health crisis that required the 2020 Olympics to be postponed, the fact that the IPL was conducted comes as a shock. 

Several cricketers withdrew from playing this year. Their reasons ranged from having relatives who have tested positive, being wary of putting their vulnerable loved ones at risk, fear of being unable to return home as international airport ban travelers from India etc. However, several big names still lent their support to the IPL being conducted mid-pandemic among players and patrons alike. Notably, there is Jay Shah, BCCI Secretary and son of the Home Minister, Amit Shah. A senior Indian cricket board official had told Reuters that the IPL must go on as it lifts spirits in times of such negativity. 

This of course, is a gross oversimplification as cricket does give entertainment, it is also a group sport. Despite claims of being extensive in taking precautionary measures, multiple players are now infected, and everyone who has interacted with the players have been exposed to the virus. 

This raises the question whether the BCCI will rethink its statements regarding T20. The BCCI had priorly stated that T20 would be conducted. They added that in case they are unable to conduct T20 in India due to COVID, their plan B is to have it hosted in UAE, rather than cancelling the event.

While the BCCI’s move to conduct the IPL can be considered disgraceful, the reactions to the same were not much better. Media houses, too, rushed at the opportunity of giving news coverage to the IPL. Several people like Faye Dsouza and Rana Ayyub are using social media to shed light on the severity of the COVID situation in India. This includes posting videos of crematoriums etc. that are not getting covered by mainstream media. Amidst this, big media houses seemed to be content in highlighting cricket. 

The New Indian Express stood out among other reputed media houses in India.  They posted an announcement from the Editor stating that they will not be covering the IPL as they disagree with it being held in the midst of such a tragic time. 

Each match so far has been extensively covered by several media houses. Meanwhile, the SC had to give specific orders to stop booking people for asking for help finding oxygen, beds or medicine in the wake of scores of cases of the same occurring in UP, Maharashtra and Haryana. 

There is no doubt that the move to suspend the IPL was a wise one, but the timing of it is still questionable. It seems as though to the IPL organizers and player, the issue that is causing people to die in thousands in the country did not matter until it reached their arena. It is also dubious to the ethics of news to have media houses covering cricket at this time. 

While ‘to entertain’ may be one of the functions of the news, it seems as though ‘to inform’ and ‘to educate’ have taken a backseat.

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News Network
May 5,2021

Bengaluru, May 5: Doctors from remote rural areas like Aland taluk in Karnataka's Kalaburagi where four Covid patients reportedly died due to shortage of oxygen have had their own harrowing experiences of dealing with the spreading pandemic.

Aland in Kalaburagi, which borders Covid-battered Maharashtra, has off late seen the contagion sweep the taluk indicating that Covid has penetrated even into interior parts of the state.

Doctors there reveal that lack of staff and required expertise are major reasons for increased death toll in rural parts of the state.

They said that most of the patients in rural areas come at last minute in most of the cases when their oxygen saturation level drops to below 80 per cent. "At this juncture, we are forced to administer them oxygen. Therefore, hospitals in interior parts do face 'constraint' in supplying oxygen," Aland taluk health officer Ratnakar Toran told reporters.

Aland is a dry area, with low rainfall and most of the population lives in poverty. It also witnesses large scale migration to cities due to lack of water, poor education facilities and employment opportunities besides power shortages. Aland is also one of taluks that records a high level of farmer suicides.

Aland Hospital surgeon, Abhay Kumar said that four patients who died on Monday were admitted only at 5 p.m. and all four had below 80 per cent oxygen saturation, while one of them had below 70 per cent, who was very critical. "All these four died past midnight. There was no oxygen shortage. But people tend to attribute all deaths to this factor," he said.

The doctors also feel that many people feel ashamed to disclose that their family member have tested Covid positive and continue to mingle with relatives and friends, thus becoming "super spreaders".

"Finally when they reach hospitals, their oxygen saturation level would have fallen drastically over which ill-prepared doctors like us have absolutely no knowledge about handling critical care patients... this either lead to overcrowding of neighbouring district hospital or by the time treatment is given to such patients, it would have been too late," Kumar said, terming himself ill-prepared to handle this contagion at critical stage. "I am a surgeon... all throughout my life I practiced and studied about surgery and related to this subject. Critical care has never been my forte," he said.

He also added that the majority of hospital staff is tested Covid positive, while he being surgeon, and Ratnakar being an ayurvedic doctor, it is very difficult to cope up with the pressure. "Our X-ray machine operator is Covid positive, and still we are managing to run it with the help of Class D employees. There is no one tp monitor in-patients. When we leave it to their relatives, they mishandle the oxygen outflow to patients," the doctor rued.

Aland town shot to limelight for all the wrong reasons on Tuesday when a report of families of four Covid patients alleging about their relatives dying due to lack of Oxygen supply in hospital, while district authorities including newly appointed district in-charge minister, Murugesh Nirani denied there was any oxygen shortage.

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coastaldigest.com news network
April 27,2021

Bengaluru, Apr 27: In spite of chief minister B S Yediyurappa’s assertion that covid-19 situation in Karnataka is beyond control, the State Election Commission went ahead with elections to 266 wards of 10 local bodies in eight districts today as per schedule.

Elections are being held to 10 local bodies with 266 wards spread over eight districts - Ballari City Corporation in Ballari, Vijaypura Municipal Corporation in Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagara City Municipal Corporation and Channapattana City Municipal Corporation in Ramanagara district, Gudibande Town Panchayat of Chikkaballapura district, Bhadravati City Municipal Corporation and Teerthahalli Town Panchayat in Shivamogga district, Beluru City Municipal Council of Hassan district, Madikeri City corporation of Kodagu district and Bidar City Corporation in Bidar.

Among these eight districts, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkballapura, and Ramanagara districts share their borders with Bengaluru city which has recorded more than 20,000 cases.

"Along with these 10 local bodies, there is one ward each in Bidar and Haveri district are facing bypolls. These polls are scheduled to be held on Tuesday (tomorrow)," the circular said.

The SEC maintained in its directive that these bodies were going to polls after the High Court had directed them to conduct elections, and Covid safety protocols were in place. 

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News Network
May 8,2021

Kolkata, May 8: Muslims in Bengal have largely exercised their franchise in favour of the TMC, putting to rest all speculations over their voting pattern, as results showed that the AIMIM and newly floated ISF have failed to curry favour with members of the community.

Veteran TMC leader Siddiqullah Chowdhury stated that the minority community knew well that Banerjee was the only person who could stop BJP's juggernaut in Bengal.

Voters from the community were unsure of reposing faith in the Sanjukta Morcha -- an alliance of the Left Front, Congress and Peerzada Abbas Siddiqui's Indian Secular Front (ISF) -- as ideologies of the three parties varied, he said.

"At least 95 per cent of all Muslims in Bengal voted for Mamata Banerjee. My brothers and sisters from the community would have never voted for a communal force. They have clearly realised that Mamata didi is the only one that can fight communalism in West Bengal," he told PTI.

Chowdhury also asserted that Muslims had seen through BJP's ploy to create divisions on religious lines.

"I had said during my campaigns that Muslims will definitely prove more trustworthy than others. They will remain faithful to Mamata Banerjee," the 71-year-old leader, who bagged the Monteswar seat with 1,05,460 votes, said.

Senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan, on his part, contended that scepticism of some party members over formation of a coalition with the ISF cost the Sanjukta Morcha dearly.

"People could not bank on us as the coalition did not shape up as expected, owing to non-acceptance of the ISF by some of our leaders. And that, in a way, led to our downfall," Mannan told PTI.

AIMIM's Asadullah Sheikh, however, reasoned that the Muslims, scared and threatened by the BJP, found no better option than the TMC as they could not have relied on new parties that joined the fray.

"Our Muslim brothers and sisters were tormented by BJP men. They felt threatened as BJP leaders kept harping on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Apprehensive of an uncertain future, they could not rely on Sanjukta Morcha or us," he pointed out.

Sheikh also claimed that the TMC government did nothing to improve the living standards of the community over the past 10 years, but it still managed to pocket votes because "Muslims, more than anything else, wanted to stop the BJP from coming to power in Bengal".

"The voting pattern has been the same everywhere, be it Lalgola, Bhagawalgola, Berhampore, Malda, South 24 Parganas or Birbum or Uttar Dinajpur," he explained.

Political analyst Biswanath Chakraborty also felt that the community voted for the TMC to protect their identity.

"It's 100 per cent true that members of the minority community voted for the TMC in hordes. They feared losing their identities. The poll narrative around Citizenship Act and National Register of Citizens scared them," Chakraborty told PTI.

Interestingly, the Muslim representation in West Bengal assembly has dropped this time when compared to what it was in 2016, even as members of the community voted en masse for the Mamata Banerjee camp.

The new assembly will be having 44 Muslim legislators - 43 of the TMC and one of the ISF -- as against 59 during its last term.

Apart from Chowdhury, some of the prominent Muslim legislators in the new Assembly will be TMC heavyweights Firhad Hakim, Javed Khan, Idris Ali and IPS-turned politician Humayun Kabir.

The ISF had contested 26 seats this election, while the Asaduddin Owaisi-led party fielded candidates in seven constituencies. 

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