‘Malicious report’, says India to Australian paper for criticising Modi for Covid ‘apocalypse’

‘Malicious report’, says India to Australian paper for criticising Modi for Covid ‘apocalypse’

The article was originally published in The Times last week, which was reproduced by The Australian. Indian High Commission urged the newspaper to publish a rejoinder.

Representational image | Wiki Commons

Representational image | Wiki Commons

New Delhi: India Monday issued a rebuttal to an article published in newspaper The Australian on the country’s Covid-19 crisis. 

The article was originally published in The Times written by Phillip Sherwell Saturday with the headline, ‘Modi leads India out of lockdown and into a Covid apocalypse’. It was reproduced in the Australian paper Sunday with the title — ‘Modi leads India into a viral apocalypse’. 

The Indian High Commission’s rebuttal accuses The Australian’s coverage of India’s Covid crisis “motivated and malicious reports” helping in “spreading falsehoods” and urges the paper to “refrain” from publishing “such baseless” articles.


The Australian tweeted on 25 April, “Arrogance, hyper-nationalism and bureaucratic incompetence have combined to create a crisis of epic proportions in India, with its crowd-loving PM basking while citizens suffocate. This is the story of how it all went so terribly wrong.” 


The article starts with PM Modi saying, “I have never seen such huge crowds” during an election rally in Asansol for the West Bengal elections last Saturday (17 April). The article then also talks about the ‘Kumbh Mela’ and large election rallies held for Bengal polls. 

India reported over 3.52 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases Monday, taking the total caseload to 17,313,163, according to the health ministry. The country saw 2,812 deaths, the highest single-day spike, amid reports of oxygen shortages and lack of other medical facilities. 

Also read: This Covid wave in India steeper than the first one, positivity rate over 10%

‘Refrain from publishing malicious reports’

The Indian High Commission in Canberra has urged the newspaper to publish a rejoinder.

The letter undersigned by P.S. Karthigeyan, Deputy High Commissioner, stated, “It appears that the article has been written only with the objective of undermining the universally acclaimed approach taken by the Government of India to fight against the deadly global pandemic, at this decisive moment.”

Addressed to Chritisan Dore, editor-in-chief of the paper, the letter mentions that the Indian government has taken a number of measures to control the spread of the virus. 

“Massive upgradation in diagnostics (1.7 million tests on 25 April 2021) and treatment facilities undertaken in a record time have saved hundreds of millions of lives  and have been praised by the global community”. 

It further claimed that “all possible measures are being taken on a war footing by authorities to tackle the recent surge in Covid-19 cases”.

‘Reality’ in comment section

Videos of pyres burning as deaths due to Covid-19 surge across the country were shared in the comments section of the Indian High Commission’s tweet.

Many Twitter users slammed PM Modi for conducting election rallies in West Bengal. Some even said the article is a “reality” and holds “truth”. 


(Edited by Debalina Dey)

Also read: The oxygen story exposes how India breathed too easy between the two Covid waves