KUNAL CHATTERJEE, Kolkata: On Saturday, when the entire country was gearing up for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Janta Curfew’ where he urged people to stay at home, practise ‘social distancing to battle against the deadly coronavirus, which has taken the lives of six Indians so far, a section of the Kolkata citizens drew flak from netizens. When the government had directed people to stay indoors and not come out unless urgency, hundreds of them had gathered in front of wine shops and meat shops in certain section of Kolkata on Saturday. When the photographs went viral, the irresponsible behaviour of the people and how some section of the Indians are not taking the impact of COVID-19 not seriously became the topic of discussion.
Dilip Naskar, a wine shop employee in Behala, lamented about his job. “When there is such medical emergency all over the country, thousands of people have gather in front of our shop daily. Neither they wear masks nor they listen to the guidelines of the government. We have appointed two persons who would manage the queues. But these people will never listen. If the attendants force anyone to obey the rules the drunkards create a scene.”
Jaideep Chakraborty, a call centre employee in Kolkata, has been working from home after COVID-19 outbreak. However, he seems to need his daily dose of alcohol. “I can work better when I am little drunk. Anyways, alcohol is the only thing that can keep coronavirus at bay. My friends in the locality who are also not going to office have also taken to drinking in the evening.”
Now, didn’t the government not say to pay heed to fake news about coronavirus. In fact, 44 people died in Iran after binge drinking hoping to get cured of COVID-19. However, the World Health Organization in a statement had clearly mentioned that people who do not drink alcohol should not start drinking it in an attempt to prevent the infection.
However, people are constantly forwarding fake messages on WhatsApps and despite the best efforts of the Centre and state government, it seems, they seem to rely on them. So, here’s Babu Das, a rickshaw puller from Kolkata, an alcoholic. His wife, a domestic help, has learnt that alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be used to kill the germs. That made her husband happy. “Previously when I used to drink, my wife would shout and abuse me. Now she has no problem with my drinking as she knows that alcohol can only save people. She is more happy these days as I give her two spoons of alcohol from my bottle with which she washes her hands.”