Hyderabad: MP and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi believes lockdown is a “a concept of the West”, which India is not equipped to deal with.
In an exclusive interview to ThePrint, Owaisi said the Narendra Modi government’s decision to enforce a nationwide lockdown, to curb the spread of Covid-19, was unplanned and unconstitutional.
“The worst is yet to come and the Centre will only realise once economic activity resumes in the real sense, that there is nothing left, especially for the poor,” said Owaisi, a four-time MP from Hyderabad.
If India wanted to follow a Western concept, he added, it should have adopted other measures such as ensuring “60-70 per cent salaries” for the employed who cannot work, like in the UK, or ensured furlough like employers in the US.
He said the lockdown has only resulted in hardships and death for migrants and lack of freedom to the states.
“How can someone sitting in Delhi decide what is right for Telangana and what isn’t, or what should be the norm in Hyderabad?” Owaisi asked, adding that it was mere eyewash that states had more freedom in lockdown 4.0.
“The Government of India sitting in Delhi cannot issue a farman (decree) that states should be closed. Law and order is a state subject,” he added. “Legally, the lockdown is unconstitutional. It was unplanned and it was forced by the Prime Minister in a hasty manner.”
Referring to the over 140 migrant deaths, Owaisi said, “When all this is over, which is long away, they (the government) will see that there is nothing but destruction.”
He fears that there will be “another 8 pm announcement” by the Prime Minister. “The PM hasn’t given any direction to this country except for taali and thali bajao,” he said.
‘There will be spurt in cases when lockdown ends’
Sitting at his residence in Hyderabad, Owaisi said this was the first time in his life that he spent the auspicious festival of Eid indoors.
“Religious gatherings are banned and we have perhaps never seen such a silent Eid celebration in Hyderabad ever before this. But then we have to abide by the guidelines so one cannot complain beyond a point,” he said.
The MP agreed there will be a spurt in cases once the lockdowm is lifted and economic activities resume but believes the country has little choices.
“It (economic activity) is important or else how will people survive? The government hasn’t been able to manage so people are forced to come out and take this risk,” he said. “As someone said yah toh Covid mar dega ya bhook se (If Covid doesn’t kill us, hunger will).”