Tag Archives: Tablighi Jamaat

An open letter regarding unscientific epidemiological practice and Islamophobia in a textbook of Medical Microbiology

During the period of drafting this open letter, the publishers have withdrawn the book. We however feel that the concerns raised continue to hold good and are putting this open letter out in the larger interest of ethical medical practice.

To

Dr Apurba S Sastry, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India 

Dr Sandhya Bhat, Professor of Microbiology, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Puducherry, India. 

Dear Drs Sastry and Bhat,

Greetings! We are writing this open letter to you with reference to the 3rd edition of the Microbiology textbook “Essentials of Medical Microbiology” which both of you have authored, and about the unscientific and seemingly prejudiced choice of using as an epidemiological example, the Tablighi Jamaat (Society of Preachers) gathering organised in India between March 13-15, 2020 .

We are a group of doctors, researchers, academicians and social activists who would like to express our deep concerns about this example on the grounds of it being unscientific and also running the risk of inculcating discriminatory, in this case, Islamophobic ideation in public health teaching and more importantly in the minds of future generations of health professionals. Below we briefly present cause of these concerns and urge you to immediately withdraw copies of the said textbook from the market along with a statement from you clarifying that the Tablighi Jamaat congregation is not epidemiologically significant for the spread of the COVID-19 virus and therefore the book is being removed from sales and will also not include as an example in subsequent prints. Continue reading An open letter regarding unscientific epidemiological practice and Islamophobia in a textbook of Medical Microbiology

Petition to Ban Toxic News Channels

The following petition initiated by Prof Apoorvanand ; Bhasha Singh, Journalist/Activist ; Jitendra Kumar, Senior Journalist ;  Mahendra Mishra, Editor, Janchowk and Subhash Gatade appeals to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DICCI) and The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) to boycott toxic new channels.  The petition can be signed here :

It is a welcome sign that two prominent business houses, namely Bajaj Auto and Parle have taken the WELCOME DECISION to not advertise on TV channels spreading hatred. We urge all the advertisers to BOYCOTT HATE MONGERS, because the history is witness that the hate ruins the whole society and does not spare anyone, however rich and high and mighty a person may be. Let us remind ourselves the unforgettable words of Pastor Martin Niemoller that he spoke on emerging from the Nazi prison: “… When they came for me, there was none left to protest”. Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

These corporates need to recall that not long ago when Black Lives Matter movement was at its peak in the West, more than 1,000 companies had decided to boycott a section of social media platforms for their dubious stand on race.

We are aware of the background: The qualitative changes – for the worse – that have taken place in the Indian media, especially the electronic variant during last few years. The ownership of the large media houses has become limited to a few big players. And these big corporates are not concerned with the concerns of the common people, and use the media for their own and their political masters’ vested interests by focusing on non-issues and indulgence in sensationalism, false propaganda and hatred – thereby actively participating in the destruction of social unity in diversity among Indians that has existed despite any and every difference of class, caste, gender, region, religion, language, ideology or any other.

Without going back to the times when the lynching became the new political weapon – with the accused being welcomed by the ruling party leaders and even minister – during the last few months, we saw that in order to deflect attention from the catastrophe that had befallen on the people in general but migrant labour in particular because of the COVID-19 pandemic and to advance the agenda of demonizing Muslims – a la Jews in Nazi Germany – how ‘Tablighi Jamat’ was willfully portrayed falsely as the ‘corona jehadi’ and what not. Then, we witnessed the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput being transformed into an endless ‘issue’, and the less said about the latest Hathras gang-rape, the better – the bizarre brazenness of hate-speech and hate-driven crime is unmistakably on the rise!

HIGH TIME THAT BOYCOTT OF HATE MONGERS BECOMES A COLLECTIVE PRACTICE!

Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

No doubt the clarification that India will not map Covid-19 infections on the basis of religion has many heaving sighs of relief. But will the peace last?

Community-Based Mapping of Covid: Nothing Official About it

Image Courtesy: AP

Move for community-based mapping of coronavirus?” a recent news item in a prestigious daily asked, getting tongues wagging about “closed-door meetings at the highest level”, though no “official” decision had been taken in themThe Ministry of Health declared that any such news is “baseless, incorrect and irresponsible”. Lav Agarwal, the top bureaucrat in the ministry—who interacts with the media on Covid-related developments—called such news reports “…very irresponsible”. “The virus does not see people’s caste, creed or religion,” he said, quoting the Supreme Court’s directions on controlling non-factual or fake news.

No doubt the official clarification has many heaving sighs of relief.

The relief is understandable, because it was only last month—when the Novel Coronavirus pandemic had started taking a toll—that Muslims were being stigmatised as “super-spreaders” of the disease.

Taking a grim view of the situation, in its press conference o6 April, the World Health Organisation had given the Indian government some simple advice. The WHO said, in response to an India-specific question, that countries should not profile Covid-19 infections in religious, racial or ethnic terms. The WHO Emergency Programme Director Mike Ryan also underlined that every positive case should be considered a victim.

( Read the full article here)