Covid-19: Eminent personalities criticize TMC MP Moitra for criticizing NRI doctors

KOLKATA: A group of 75 eminent personalities from West Bengal criticized TMC MPs for criticizing NRI doctors, who recently wrote to the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, expressing concern over the situation in the state.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, eminent personalities, including filmmakers, actors, music composers and teachers, said they are ashamed of such a reaction from a parliamentarian in the wake of the pandemic.

Signatories include filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Tarun Majumder, Kamaleswar Mukhopadhyay and Suman Mukhopadhyay, artist Wasim Kapoor, actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, music composer Debajyoti Misra, teacher Ambikesh Mahapatra, and pedagogue Pabitra Sarkar.

In a letter to Banerjee in late April, 14 NRI doctors warned the state government against COVID-19's failure to report cases and deaths, saying it will have a direct impact on the spread of the virus and lead to a massive crisis in the state .

In response to the letter, Moitra had tweeted: 11 out of 14 NRI documents writing to WB CM in the US. 2 in the UK and 1 in Germany. With the due respect you choose to live, practice paying taxes elsewhere. Suggest that you get down to business in adopted years!

Criticizing Moitra, the personalities said: The petty insinuations made were not necessary to divert attention from the real issues and unnecessarily politicize the pandemic. We fear that this reaction from a representative of Parliament may discourage NRI specialists from offering their knowledge and experience in critical times.

Today, more than ever, state officials should rise above the insignificant and listen to experts to deal with the health crisis, he added.

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Referring to Moitra's famous speech in Lok Sabha, eminent personalities wondered how the same person in his speech had pointed out that criticizing the government is not criticizing India, and said gagging freedom of expression is a sign of fascism.

Why then does raising public health concerns about the state amount to criticizing West Bengal? Or are you trying to imply that your non-resident status prevents these scientists from questioning things at home? said the statement.

The personalities claimed that NRI physicians are renowned public health scientists and doctors from world-class institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Several of them participate in data science and modeling initiatives related to Covid-19.