In the ongoing second wave of COVID-19, Uttar Pradesh has emerged as one of the worst-hit states in the country but to date the state government under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath of Bharatiya Janata Party has not gone on record to acknowledge the deteriorating conditions in the state.
Journalists who have been covering the COVID-19 crisis there on the ground have highlighted the efforts of the state in denying the severity of the crisis on multiple occasions. Many have also alleged that the official data released by the health ministry about the COVID-19 related deaths in the state have been fudged and reduced substantially from the actual death toll.
Even when the government has continued to stay in denial and signaled ‘all is well’ in the state, pictures and videos of unending pyres and burning dead bodies are flooding the internet. Several national and international media houses have picked these stories up and questioned the government for hiding the truth.
In the wake of this, the municipal authorities in two of the worst hit cities in the state, Lucknow and Gorakhpur erected a makeshift tin wall around the crematorium and put up banners stating that photographing the happenings at the cremation site would invoke criminal charges, respectively.
However the banners outside the cremation site in Gorakhpur were removed by the Municipal Corporation after pictures of it were posted on the internet and journalists and common people criticized the government for covering up the disaster that it created by not managing the COVID-19 situation efficiently. People alleged that the government did not want any coverage of the massive number of COVID related death in these cities so as to escape being blamed for it.
Recently the union government of India had asked the social media platform Twitter to hide specific images posted by journalists and other concerned citizens with a large social media following to prevent ‘panic’ among the masses to which Twitter had acted positively.