Two newborn babies died in Jharkhand and Rajasthan after hospitals refused to treat their Muslim mothers
- Nayadiganta English Desk 20 April 2020
Two newborn babies have died after hospitals refused to admit their Muslim mothers amid a surge in coronavirus-related Islamophobia in India.
In Jharkhand state, a Muslim woman miscarried after she was barred from receiving treatment in MGM Hospital in the city of Jamshedpur.
Rizwana Khatun, 30, had rushed to the hospital after she began bleeding. Accused of spreading coronavirus, she was also beaten and asked to clean up her own blood.
Earlier this month, a baby died in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan after a government hospital refused to admit the Muslim mother.
Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have blamed the spread of coronavirus on a Muslim missionary group meeting in New Delhi in mid-March.
Thousands of attendees traveled for the Tablighi Jamaat event and failed to disband, despite the Delhi Government restricting gatherings of over 50 people.
They then returned home to India’s periphery, some taking the virus with them.
The Indian Government has said 30 per cent of its 15,712 coronavirus cases are linked to the meeting, but there has been widespread underreporting of cases.
Similar gatherings within Hindu communities – including one led by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh – have escaped criticism.
Muslim leaders have welcomed an investigation into the event but said it should not be used as an excuse to target the community as a whole.
Despite this, one hospital in the northern city of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh ran an advertisement saying it would not admit Muslims without a negative COVID-test. Hindus are not being asked to provide proof.
Hospitals in the state of Telengana have also refused Muslims entry.
Many Muslims are reporting an uptick in hostility across India and say they are being refused access to some pharmacies and grocery stores.
Inter-communal tension has remained high in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected for a second term in 2019.
Mr. Modi introduced a controversial new citizenship law which excludes Muslims and scrapped the long-standing autonomy enjoyed by India’s only Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In February, encouraged by a politician from the BJP, Hindu-nationalist mobs attacked Muslim homes and businesses in New Delhi. At least 50 people died. [Source: The Telegraph]