A day after Arvind Kejriwal asked AAP workers to travel across Punjab with an oximeter – to measure oxygen levels in the blood and identify potential Covid patients – Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hit back, calling on Mr Kejriwal to stay out of his state and focus on managing the situation in the national capital.
“We don’t need your oximeters. We just need you to rein in your workers in Punjab, where they are trying to incite my people into not going to hospitals to get themselves tested and treated for Covid,” Amarinder Singh said.
Mr Singh was referring to the circulation of a video alleging the state health department was removing the organs of dead Covid patients. The video, branded a fake – and most likely from Pakistan – by the state government, was allegedly being distributed by an active worker of Mr Kejriwal’s AAP.
The alleged AAP worker – Amrinder Singh, 31 – has been arrested and is being questioned over the source of the video and his intent behind its distribution.
Sources said Amrinder Singh, who was reportedly a candidate for an AAP ticket to contest the Assembly elections from Ferozepur, was endangering the safety of people by provoking them into non-cooperation with health officials.
Amarinder Singh also declared that Mr Kejriwal’s announcement – about party workers with oximeters – raised serious questions regarding the role of his party in a “conspiracy to undermine the Punjab government’s efforts to keep the pandemic under check and save the lives of the people of the state”.
He hinted at a “massive plot by elements inimical to the interests of Punjab”, disclosing that police had, this morning registered a case after a local journalist claimed he had been offered money to shoot a fake video on Covid.
“Such rumours provoking a section of the community to resist proper medical care, which needs to be provided to all Covid-affected citizens, … is a clear case of a deadly criminal conspiracy,” Mr Singh said.
Amarinder Singh asked Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta to thoroughly investigate the complaint of the journalist and ensure strict action against all those endangering the lives of the people of the state.
Punjab has reported nearly 57,000 Covid cases so far, of which 1,618 are deaths linked to the virus and around 15,600 are active cases.
Delhi, on the other hand, appears to be in the throes of a surge in new cases; the national capital has over 1.79 lakh confirmed cases, of which around 16,500 are active and around 4,500 are deaths.
India crossed the 38.5-lakh mark this morning, with a record 83,883 new cases.
With input from PTI