PIL in SC Solicits Restrain on Religious & Community Profiling Linked to COVID-19

A PIL favoured in the Supreme Court seeks intervention and directions to the central government to issue guidelines to prevent the attacks on certain communities by religious, racial and caste profiling.

Restrain Religious & Community Profiling

The abovementioned PIL is preferred by Aanchal Singh, Disha Wadekar & Mohammad Wasim. It prays for an issue of advisory to “Adress Social Stigma” associated with COVID-19. So as to ensure that citizens are not denied access to food, water, healthcare and public places. On account of the ongoing community profiling.

“The existing social schisms in society widened during crisis situations like that of COVID-19 pandemic. This renders the already vulnerable population of race, religious, caste and sexual minorities, etc. To the even greater threat of being socially boycotted and ostracised. Thus resulting in essential services including healthcare inaccessible to them” reads the petition.

The Menace of Fake News

The PIL goes on to mention the hate messages and fake news surrounding members of Tablighi Jamaat. People are citing them as ‘super-spreaders’ and attributing shame to the Muslim community. Healthcare facilities not provided to them. Instances of associating people of the North-Eastern parts of India with Coronavirus also highlighted by the petitioner.

“Such racial and community profiling has led to hate and mental abuse with slurs like “Mulla”, “Tablighi”, “terrorists” etc for the persons of Muslim community whereas “corona”, “virus” for the persons of North-eastern states….. A variety of fake news and rumours related to coronavirus have been spread against Muslims of India.  Under hashtags such as #CORONAJIHAD and #NizamuddinIdiot and hate-filled slurs such as ‘COVD terrorists’ and ‘COVID bioweapons” reads the petition.

Contradicting Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution

The loss of life, livelihood and dignity for members of such communities due to social boycott vitiates the guarantees of the right to life with dignity and right to livelihood under Articles 21 and 19 of the Constitution of India. This kind of social boycott on the grounds ‘only’ of-religion, race, caste, sex, etc discriminatory and erodes the protection granted under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.” the petition reads.

Additionally, the petitioner(s) have prayed for replacing the words “social distancing” with “physical distancing” or “disease distancing” as the insensitive use of phrases during the fight against COVID-19 may have serious consequences of leaving behind a legacy of untouchability, social boycott a8nd ostracism.