‘Head Would Be Chopped Off’: Poonawalla Leaves India After Threats
Citing “unprecedented aggression”, Poonawalla talked about the “implications of what they might do”.
Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla in an interview to The Times alleged that he had been receiving threats in India and said that he and his family have left the country and were in London after unprecedented “pressure and aggression” over the demands for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m staying here for an extended period because I don’t want to go back to that situation,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in a situation where you are trying to do your job and just because you can’t supply the needs of X, Y or Z, you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do,” he said, adding, “Everything falls on my shoulders, but I can’t do it alone.”
Poonawalla said that he was planning to begin production outside India and will return to India in a few days.
“The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented. It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why someone else should get it before them.”Adar Poonawalla to The Times
‘My Head Would Be Chopped Off’
Narrating the nature of the threats, Poonawalla said that it was more about the implication of what they might do if he “did not comply”.
“It’s not foul language. It’s the tone. It’s the implication of what they might do if I don’t comply. It’s taking control. It’s coming over and basically surrounding the place and not letting us do anything unless we give in to their demands,” he told The Times.
“They are saying if you don’t give us the vaccine it’s not going to be good,” he added.
Asked about his views on the Kumbh Mela and the Assembly elections being the reasons behind the rise, Poonawalla said that his head would be “chopped off” as the topic is too sensitive.
“If I give you the right answer, or any answer, my head would be chopped off,” he said, adding, “I can’t comment on the elections or Kumbh Mela. It’s too sensitive...I don’t think even God could have forecast it was going to get this bad.”
‘Production in Full Swing, Will Return in a Few Days’
Soon after the interview, Poonawalla took to Twitter to state that he had a successful meeting for the production of vaccines with stakeholders in the UK and will return to India soon.
Security for Poonawalla
Poonawalla’s comments came after the Centre recently ramped up his security cover to ‘Y’ category.
Amid the ferocious second wave, several states have expressed the inability to begin the vaccination drive for people between 18and 44 that was to begin on Saturday.
India on Saturday reported its highest single-day spike with 3.79 lakh new COVID-19 cases.
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