Grilled over the migrant crisis by the Supreme Court today, the government complained about "prophets of doom" who only spread negativity and who refused to acknowledge the steps that were taken.
"We have a handful of people in this country called prophets of doom who always spread negativity. All these people writing on social media, giving interviews cannot even acknowledge what is being done. None of these prophets of doom have shown any courtesy to the nation. They don't even have the patriotism to acknowledge that," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, representing the government.
The top lawyer made the comments as he recorded "two" complaints before the court during a hearing on the state of migrants driven to desperation by the coronavirus lockdown and forced to leave states after losing their jobs.
"A large number of steps were taken by the government and the Supreme Court was fully satisfied about it earlier," Mr Mehta said, apparently referring to a hearing on May 15 when the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition asking that the government be ordered to provide food, water and relief to migrants on the move.
He said "none of these prophets of doom acknowledged the fact that the government and every minister is working overnight".
He went on to give the example of the iconic Pulitzer-winning photograph of a vulture and a starving child in Sudan, taken in 1983. "There was a vulture and a panic-stricken child. The vulture was waiting for the child to die. The photographer Kevin Carter photographed it and it was published in NYT and the photographer was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He committed suicide after four months. He was not an activist. He was not running an NGO. He was a man with a conscience," the Solicitor General said.
"A journalist had asked him, what happened to the child? He said I don't know, I had to return home. Then the reporter asked him - how many vultures were there? He said one. The reporter said - no. There were two. One was holding the camera."
Mr Mehta, continuing his attack apparently on opposition leaders, sections of the media, activists and others who had criticized the government's handling of the migrant crisis, wondered whether any of them stepped out of air-conditioned offices and drawing rooms to help.
"Those who come before your Lordships, let them establish their credentials. They earn in crores. Have they spent a penny? People are feeding people on the streets. Had any of them cared to come out of their AC offices? All these people who are critiquing, has any one of them also come out of their air conditioned drawing rooms to help? All these people wanting to intervene need to apply the vulture and child story. What have they contributed? Before entertaining any of them, ask them to file an affidavit on what has been their contribution? Except for writing on social media, penning articles, giving interviews," said the government lawyer.