Kolkata: Super cyclone Amphan has brought large scale devastation for West Bengal. It did not only waterlogged most of the state during Covid-19 pandemic, trees and electric poles get uprooted, power supply get disturbed across Bengal but also killed at least a dozen people. Five lakh people were evacuated earlier to the cyclone and later two crores population of the state get affected. But what did not change is the response of India’s central government towards Bengal.
Even after more than 24 hours of the devastation (see the pictures), neither Prime Minister Office (PMO) nor @BJP4Bengal, @BJP4India Twitter handles did a single tweet about the devastation cyclone Amphan caused to the people of Bengal.
Whereas, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that Amphan brought more disaster than Covid-19.
“Area after area has been ruined. I have experienced a war-like situation today,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
At 1.45 pm, three tweets were made by the personal handle of Narendra Modi, two on Bengal and one on Odisha. He mentioned that GOI officials are in touch with state officials and will provide all necessary help. Narendra Modi’s two tweets on Bengal were:
“Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy. (sic)”
“NDRF teams are working in the cyclone-affected parts. Top officials are closely monitoring the situation and also working in close coordination with the West Bengal government. No stone will be left unturned in helping the affected. (sic)”
Interestingly, it is not only PMO and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, but India’s mainstream media too did not cover much the cyclone and its impact. While international media organization BBC did many stories on the cycle, its devastation, and the reason why Bay of Bengal of hot-bed of tropical cyclones.
But, while, many leaders of central and Bengal BJP ignored the cyclone and did not express empathy with people of Bengal and extended support, Governor of Tripura Tathagata Roy, whose native town is Kolkata, did a tweet, but to make mockery of the situation.
On the morning of May 21, when people of Bengal were having aftershock of the disaster, Tathagata Roy tweeted:
“My home town Kolkata is devastated. First by 34 years of a tyrannical minimalist government which resulted in its slow journey back from an industrial hub back to Stone Age; then COVID-19; now Amphan! And above all….oh, never mind! (sic)”
Nupur J Sharma, the OpIndia editor, a right-wing magazine’s Twitter handle, laughing on the misery of people of cyclone affected people of Bengal. She tweeted that because rain god is angry with Bengal so it is happening. After her tweet, several of her followers lined up to abuse Bengal and Bengalis.
However, a hashtag Pray For West Bengal is also trending on Twitter, where concerned Indians are tweeting for the safety of the Bengal and Odisha people. Latest to tweet the hashtag is Indian Cricket team skipper Virat Kohli:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by #CycloneAmphan in Odisha and West Bengal. May God protect everyone out there and hope things get better soon (sic).”
Some Twitterati like @SahaTamoghna also expressed anguish that even after such large scale devastation, it has not been termed a national disaster.
However, more than tweet or pray, it is the immediate material and financial aid that Bengal need from central government and people of India.