04 May 2021
CORONA VIRUS & WAR
This article is dedicated to the memory of my brother-in-law Mr Subramaniam Paramanathan who passed away in custody of the Sri Lankan armed forces, on 04 May 2009. He was displaced from the Home for the aged and was declined calls from his immediate family. I was planning on going to India before proceeding to Sri Lanka, when our nephew rang with the news about his father. I changed my plans and left immediately for Sri Lanka. The body was brought to Colombo as we felt that it was highly unlikely that we would get clearance to go to Vavuniya and conduct the funeral ceremonies.
I went to the camps after completion of family responsibilities. Back then, after sharing in the pain of the victims, I applied for visa to go to India and was anxious that I may be rejected like many others were reported to be back then. I kept praying to my Spiritual Guru – Sri Sathya Sai Baba to whose ashram I sought to go. I was however ready to be rejected. But the visa was approved through due process. I go into that experience when I note the travel restriction placed on Australians seeking to return from India right now.
As far as I am concerned this is also a war by the government to protect us. India with high rate of infection is a war-zone.
As per BBC report – ‘Australia's India ban criticised as 'racist' rights breach’:
[From Monday, any Australian arriving in the country from India faces fines and up to five years in prison.
It comes after Canberra banned all flights from the virus hotspot until 15 May.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed accusations of racism.
"The same accusations were made against the government over a year ago when we closed the borders to mainland China," he told Sydney radio station 2GB.
"There's no politics or ideology in a pandemic... It's got nothing to do with politics, this is a virus."]
I do feel that it is important that we treat India as a war zone to which we are prohibited entry.
When the government believes, we have the right to protest on the basis of our belief. Belief based power is exponential. Those who do protest on the basis of their belief – ought to not go into war zones which infect the mind. We are not allowed entry into immigration detention centres to prevent such ‘infections’. Is that racism? At policy level the belief of the government is valid. At outcomes level, it is the belief of the customer/victim who has no grounds to be punished on lawful basis, that determines the reason why.
I am not able to identify with the following by the Australian Human Rights Commission:
[The Commission supports the continuation of aid to the Indian Government as it copes with the current COVID-19 crisis, but the Commission holds deep concerns about these extraordinary new restrictions on Australians returning to Australia from India.
The need for such restrictions must be publicly justified. The Government must show that these measures are not discriminatory and the only suitable way of dealing with the threat to public health.]
The measure has been applied on the basis of merit. I identify with the decision by the government – the same way I accepted restricted access to the Sri Lankan war zone in 2009.