Amid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the state and country, former chief minister of India's Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat has drawn flak from the opposition and experts for his remark, "Covid-19 virus has a right to live."
"If we talk philosophically, then Covid-19 virus is also a living organism which wants to live and has a right to live just like humans. However, we consider ourselves more intelligent than any other living organism. We are now after it and want to escape, the virus is changing its form constantly," he said while giving interview to a local news channel.
"Hence, we now have to keep distance from it. It is also moving and we are also moving, but we have to move fast than it so that it gets left behind," he further said.
The video clip of the interview was widely shared on social media after which opposition parties Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) attacked him for an "irresponsible and foolish" statement when "lakhs have died due to the virus."
Congress state vice-president Suryakant Dhasmana said, "What Rawat, who was state's CM, said, is nothing but foolish and nonsense. He has no vision because of which he was replaced abruptly by his party."
"The virus is a living organism, so was Ravana, Kansa and Mahishasura. But they all were killed by different gods because they were destroying the world just like this virus who has killed lakhs of humans on this planet and needs to be killed. Rawat is just uttering sheer nonsense."
Trivendra Singh Rawat was replaced by the party leadership in March this year. The Lok Sabha MP from Garhwal and former state BJP chief, Tirath SIngh Rawat succeeded Trivendra Singh Rawat, as the new state CM.
AAP state spokesperson Amarjeet Singh Rana while condemning Rawat said, "It is ridiculous that he was once the CM of this state. This shows his and BJP leaders' wisdom. They are making Uttarakhand a laughing stock."
The BJP meanwhile, accused Congress and AAP of indulging in blame game than working for humanity in the pandemic.
Party media in-charge Manveer Singh Chauhan said, "Congress is just playing a dirty blame-game and sees everything in negative even in this pandemic. While the AAP is doing this just for cheap publicity as it has no political presence in the state. Both of them should rather indulge in serving the humanity."
On Rawat calling the virus a living organism, Uttarakhand state secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Ajay Khanna said, "Covid-19 virus is a living organism. But it's killing people."
Another IMA office bearer, on condition of anonymity however, condemned Rawat on saying that Covid has a right to live.
"It is really unfortunate for this country that when dead bodies are increasing every day in this country, a leader like Rawat who has been the CM of Uttarakhand is saying that Covid-19 virus is a living organism and has a right to live. It is just shameful and insult to all those who lost their lives to this lethal virus," he said.