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Pandemic protests expected across India

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Pandemic protests expected across India

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Photo: REUTERS/Amit Dave

Over 400 human rights groups are expected to organise anti-government protests today over New Delhi’s domestic handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign is set to take place nationwide and across social media. The protesters claim that lockdown restrictions have disproportionately affected low-income areas, jeopardising the livelihoods of small farmers, migrant workers and small businesses within rural and densely urban parts of the country. New Delhi claims that its existing measures are necessary to contain the spread of the virus—which is approaching four million cases and 70,000 deaths—and has pointed to a number of stimulus programmes implemented to support its struggling citizenry.

Social unrest threatens to further undermine India’s public health and political stability. On Thursday, India’s Health Ministry announced an 83,000 single-day jump in confirmed cases, the country’s highest daily increase to date. Public protest will likely accelerate the spread of the virus, further straining the country’s resources. If New Delhi continues to neglect the concerns of protesters, civil unrest could potentially spark violence and unravel the state’s tentative progress thus far.

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