Seven communist parties organised a joint demonstration on 26th September 2016 to protest against the continued failure of the Delhi Government and the Delhi Municipal Corporations in preventing the spread of serious diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria. This protest was organised outside the office of the Delhi Lt Governor Mr Najeeb Jung.
Members of the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, UTUC (Communist), Communist Party of India (Marxist – Leninist) Liberation and the Communist Ghadar Party of India first gathered at the Tees Hazari Metro station with red banners and flags and placards. Thereafter they marched in a procession. While marching, they shouted slogans against the governments of Delhi and the Union and against the Delhi Municipal Corporation, such as: “People of Delhi are struggling with chikungunya while the Governor Chief Minister and Mayor make merry!”. The police stopped the procession before it reached the Office of the Lt Governor, and the march was converted into a public meeting.
Addressing the meeting, speakers pointed out that millions of people in Delhi were in danger of falling prey to chikungunya, malaria and dengue. Almost every family in the city had people who were suffering from these diseases. These diseases could prove fatal to people who are exhausted and suffering. Long queues of patients were forming outside government – run clinics and hospitals. There is a severe shortage of basic amenities like beds, as well as of pathological testing facilities, doctors and paramedical staff in these. People are compelled to go to private hospitals and clinics where treatment is expensive.
When the capital of the country cannot be kept safe from diseases like chikungunya, malaria and dengue, it can be easily surmised as to what the condition of far flung places in the country would be. The situation clearly shows that the Government of Delhi and the Central Government have failed to provide better health services to the people. In order to escape from their responsibilities, the Government of Delhi and the Delhi Municipal Corporations deliberately show a lower number of people as having been affected by or killed by the diseases chikungunya, malaria and dengue.
Speakers made it clear that merely adding a nominal number of beds to hospitals and testing blood free of cost and opening a helpline, as the Delhi Government has been doing is simply not the way to tackle the problem. The Delhi Government, the Municipal Corporations and the Union Government have not taken any steps to stop these seasonal diseases from turning into epidemics. It seems as if the lives of common people are worthless.
Every conscious citizen of Delhi knows that the piling up of garbage in various places, filling up of dirty water in cavities and craters in many places in the monsoon season are the cause for the spread of diseases like malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Every year, grandiose plans are made prior to the monsoon to tackle these issues but nothing comes of it.
Speakers described the manner in which people were suffering in homes and hospitals. They are standing in lines to get treatment. In this situation, the BJP government at the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) controlling the Delhi government are blaming each other for the problems. The BJP-controlled Municipal Corporations and AAP-controlled Delhi State government have been at loggerheads for a long time now and they are expectedly blaming each other for the epidemic too. They wish to thus escape from their responsibility towards the people. Condemning this, speakers asserted that providing proper health facilities for the people of Delhi is the responsibility of the Indian State. The Indian State has refused to fulfil this responsibility and is leaving people to their fate. We must put pressure on the governments of Delhi and the Union that they must fulfil their responsibilities towards the people in this time of crisis and take immediate steps to improve the situation.
Among those who addressed the meeting were: Com Dhirendra Sharma of the CPI, Com K M Tiwari of the CPM, Com Dharmendra Kumar of the All India Forward Bloc, Com Birju Nayak of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, Com R S Dagar of the Revolutionary Party of India, Com R K Sharma of the UTUC (Communist) Com Surendra Panchal of the CPI (ML) Liberation.
A seven-member delegation of these parties met the Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and submitted a memorandum to him. The memorandum demanded that better facilities must be made available in all government hospitals and clinics to tackle the spread of diseases like dengue, chikungunya and malaria; that they must be kept open for treatment 24 hours a day; that private hospitals also be instructed to provide free diagnosis and treatment all around the clock.