New Delhi: Pointing out that the impact of the second wave of Covid-19 has been huge in India, RSS Prachar Pramukh (publicity chief) Sunil Ambekar refrained from criticising the government and said focus is on providing help to all, and both the Centre and the states are doing it.
Ambekar also said the RSS has initiated a campaign to spread greater awareness about the Covid vaccination drive and dispel rumours regarding it.
“The focus of the RSS is on extending help to the needy, providing them relief. As far as the government is concerned, they are extending all help. States too are trying to do their work,” he said.
Asked specifically why India was not prepared for the second wave, Ambekar said, “It is not true that we were not aware of the second wave.”
“The new strain was found in Maharashtra in January itself. But if you look at the numbers of Covid-19 in the second wave, then India has been impacted the most,” he told ThePrint.
Ambekar said the RSS has already been extending help to those in need whether it is regarding providing food, sanitisers, medicines and oxygen.
“As always, organisations like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Sewa Bharati and many others are working day and night to provide relief to the affected areas and families. On the initiative of the Sangh, 12 types of major essential works have started on priority,” said Ambekar.
“The RSS swayamsevaks are running Covid Service Centres (Covid Seva Kendra) in 43 major cities. The administration of Covid hospitals is being supported at 219 other locations. 2,442 vaccination centres have been started so far with awareness campaigns in more than 10,000 places for vaccination,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ambekar downplayed the comments made by the state executive member of the RSS’ Delhi wing Rajiv Tuli, who had questioned the role of the Delhi BJP in extending help during the pandemic.
“Where is BJP4Delhi? Or is the state body dissolved?” Tuli wrote on Twitter Wednesday, but deleted it later.
On this, Ambekar said, “It was his personal comment and not the official view of the RSS.”
Campaign to be extended
About the awareness campaign for vaccination, Ambekar said they are running it in towns and villages, and will extend the drive as from 1 May, all those aged 18 years and above will be eligible to get vaccinated.
“At 10,000 different places in the country such awareness programmes are already being run. They are going door-to-door and informing people that there are no negative impacts of the vaccines and some of them may get fever, body ache, which is a natural reaction of the vaccine. It happens with all vaccines. So there is no need to have any apprehension and people should get vaccinated,” he said.
“New vaccination centres are being set up for this by respective governments and we are also going to conduct our awareness programmes near those centres and will encourage people to go for it,” he added.
Asked how there is already a shortage of vaccination even as the government has opened vaccination for those aged 18 years and above, he said, “New decisions are being taken every day, new vaccines are being allowed. As far as oxygen supply is concerned, we have enough oxygen, but logistics is the issue.”
“States have already started doing it and are placing orders everyday,” he added.
On Hosabale’s comment
On RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale’s comment last week warning against ‘anti-Bharat” forces, Ambekar said, “He has only said anti-Bharat forces, which means those outside India.”
“He has cautioned the people that at a time when we are fighting a battle against Covid-19, someone might try to take emotional advantage or otherwise,” he added.
Ambekar also urged members of the society to join hands and extend help to people amid the pandemic.
“A number of relief measures have been announced under Sewa Bharati and we are trying our best to help people in this crisis. It is only with the help of society and administration that we can win this battle,” he added.
(Edited by Debalina Dey)