DC Edit: The gaslighting of government critics

Deccan Chronicle.

Opinion, DC Comment

Saturday’s attack on a Vizag doctor, who red-flagged the shortage of N-95 masks and PPE kits for nurses and doctors, is a case in point

Post-Covid, it won’t be a kinder India even if it is a kinder world. PTI Photo

The post-corona order has arrived. In this new milieu, filtered by privilege, exists a self-conscious, almost-tyrannical, focus on well-adjustedness, with one's surroundings. Unhappiness is the supreme vice as officialdom increasingly
weaponises “mental illness” and gaslights its own critics.

Saturday’s attack on a Vizag doctor, who red-flagged the shortage of N-95 masks and PPE kits for nurses and doctors, so critical in preventing them from themselves turning into unwitting sources of the virus is a case in point. Anaesthesiologist K. Sudhakar of the Narsipatnam government hospital had been suspended in April, purportedly on disciplinary grounds, after he urged the supply of more equipment. On Saturday, he was accused of creating a ruckus outdoors by the police who kicked and dragged him along the road before taking him away in an autorickshaw. He was then committed to a mental facility. As the doctor, in a fit of rage, was heard using derogatory words against the chief minister, the incident is now being politicised. Mental illness is an old stick used to beat whistleblowers, as well as victims who show up the failures of communities and administrations. Government institutions, the world over, are known to suppress internal complaints through actions ranging from maliciously finding fault to sustained campaigns of slights and obstructions. Consider the case of immunologist Rick Bright, head of Barda (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority), who warned the United States government against Covid unpreparedness in America as far back as January. He was accused of “creating a commotion” and demoted. But he still got a chance to make his point before the Congress last week. When will India’s Rick Brights get a fair hearing? Post-Covid, it won’t be a kinder India even if it is a kinder world.

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