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MP: FIR Against Kamal Nath for ‘Creating Panic’ Over COVID Variant

Nath had said that the world knew the B.1.617 strain, first found in India, as the “Indian variant.”

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The Bharatiya Janata Party has accused former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath of spreading misleading information under the Disaster Management Act and Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) over his remarks on the B.1.617 COVID variant, which he referred to as the “Indian Variant”. A police case has been registered against the Congress leader.

On Friday, 21 May, Nath had said that the world knew the B.1.617 strain, first found in India, as the “Indian variant” at a press conference.

Nath said, “Indians in the world have become synonymous with corona and Mera Bharat (Our India) has turned into COVID (epicentre),” PTI quoted.

He also expressed his disillusionment with the COVID fatalities “projected by India,” saying that that in reality, 1,02,002 COVID patients had died in Madhya Pradesh alone during March and April.

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‘Does This Not Amount to Sedition?’

These comments were not received well by Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

In a series of tweets, Chouhan brought Nath’s statement into question, asking if it will not “hurt the country’s respect” and whether it counts as sedition.

He wrote, “Does using words like, ‘Mera Bharat COVID’, ‘Indian Corona’ suit the Congress? Won't the morale of Indians living in other countries dip with such statements? Won't it hurt the country's respect? Does such a statement not amount to sedition?”

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also censured the minister, and pointed out that even the World Health Organisation has clarified that a variant is not named after any country.

“He (Nath) did not stop there and said 'hamari pahchan mera Bharat COVID’... This is an insult to India. Many Congress leaders are making such statements. Many leaders said this is an Indian variant,” NDTV quoted Javadekar as saying.

In the background of the B.1.617 being commonly referred to as the Indian Variant, the Information Technology ministry has written to social media firms asking them to take down content which refers to it as such, news agency Reuters has reported.

The appeal would also include informative posts, which maybe have referred to the variant as the Indian one, preventing free circulation of information on the mutation.

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)

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