CHANDIGARH: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Thursday warned his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal against trying to exploit the Covid-19 crisis to instigate people in Punjab’s villages and advised him to instead focus on managing the pandemic in the national capital.
The blunt missive came a day after Kejriwal asked his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers to travel across Punjab with an oximeter to measure oxygen levels in the blood and identify potential Covid-19 patients.
“We don’t need your oximeters. We just need you to rein in your workers in Punjab, where they are trying to incite my people into not going to hospitals to get tested and treated for Covid,” Amarinder said.
Kejriwal’s call to party workers raised the hackles of the Punjab government that is worried about attacks on health workers in rural areas by people resisting COVID-19 testing following circulation of fake news and provocative videos.
At least one such fake video was found to have originated in a foreign country, most likely Pakistan, and circulated by an AAP worker who has now been arrested by Punjab Police.
Amrinder Singh, 31, a resident of Mishriwala village of Ferozepur, has been booked under IT Act, 54 DMA and 153 IPC for circulation of false and misleading posts on social media platforms and provoking people not to cooperate with health authorities.
Singh was an aspirant for a ticket from Ferozepur seat in the Assembly polls.
He is being questioned to ascertain who instigated him to circulate the outrageous post of a body to mislead the people into believing that organs of deceased patients were being removed.
“Such rumours are provoking a section of the community to resist proper medical care which needs to be provided to all Covid affected citizens, which is a clear case of a deadly criminal conspiracy against the people of the state,” said Amarinder.
There were enough indications of a massive plot by elements inimical to the interests of Punjab, he added.
Amarinder said Kejriwal’s announcement in the midst of such dangerous rumour mongering raised serious questions on the AAP’s role in the conspiracy to undermine the Punjab government’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
He warned the Delhi CM against playing into the hands of anti-India forces who are trying to use the pandemic to foment fresh trouble in the state.