The Congress on Saturday alleged under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in some states especially in Gujarat and demanded an explanation from both the central and the state governments.
Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Shaktisinh Gohil in a joint press conference alleged that the deaths in Gujarat this year have doubled than in 2020 and claimed that the substantial increase cannot be explained as a natural annual one and can only be attributed to a pandemic.
The two Congress leaders cited a news report that claimed that Gujarat issued about 1,23,000 death certificates between March 1 and May 10, as against about 58,000 certificates issued during the same period last year and said they got these verified after collecting data from 33 districts of the state.
The Congress leaders said the sum of the number of the death certificates collected nearly tallies with the numbers published and that comes to 1,23,873 in 2021 against 58,068 last year.
However, during the period March 1 to May 10, the government of Gujarat has officially admitted to only 4,218 COVID-related deaths.
Mr Chidambaram said the difference between the increase in the number of death certificates (65,805) and the official COVID-related deaths (4,218) must be explained.
It cannot be explained as ''natural annual increase'' or ''due to other causes'', he noted.
"We have a strong suspicion that the bulk of the increased number of deaths is due to COVID and the state government is suppressing the true number of COVID-related deaths.
"Our suspicions are confirmed by the fact that hundreds of unidentified bodies have been found floating on the River Ganga and nearly 2000 unidentified bodies have been found buried on the sands along the River Ganga," he claimed.
"We have a strong suspicion that the Government of India, in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and COVID-related deaths. If our suspicions are true, this is a grave misdeed apart from being a national shame and a national tragedy," he alleged.
"The government of India and the government of Gujarat owe an explanation to the people of India. The Congress party, We demand answers and an explanation," Mr Chidambaram said.
He said it was a matter of shame if this was happening.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)