Thursday, April 24, 2008

India Playing The Blame Game


# 1912



Going back to January, when bird flu first broke out in West Bengal, the Indian government has blamed Bangladesh.  So it is hardly surprising that the blame for the recent outbreak in Tripura is being laid at the Bangladeshi's doorstep.


Although the Indian government has made some outlandish claims (see The Virus My Friend, Is Blowin In The Wind) in this regard, there is a pretty good chance that their bird flu woes came by way of Bangladesh, which has been fighting a losing battle against the disease for more than a  year.


The West Bengal government, however, ignored early reports of bird deaths back in December, and failed to act swiftly enough to contain the virus.  The virus reportedly spread, virtually unhindered, for nearly a month.  And once action was taken, it was often poorly organized and only partially effective


The H5N1 bird flu virus may well have come into India by way of Bangladesh (unproven, but certainly possible), but it became entrenched due to the slow and often ineffective actions by the local government.


But, when local economies are affected, and lives are negatively impacted, it is only good politics to shift the blame to a neighboring country.





India blames Bangladesh as bird flu spreads

By Biswajyoti Das 17 minutes ago

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) - Authorities battling an outbreak of bird flu in poultry in Tripura blamed Bangladesh for the spread on Thursday, but many experts said India was not doing enough to contain the virus.

More than 25,000 chickens and ducks have already been slaughtered in Tripura this month after it was hit by the H5N1 strain.


On Thursday, authorities chose to blame neighbouring Bangladesh after they received reports of new bird flu cases in the state.


"Unless bird flu is contained completely in Bangladesh, the virus will keep spreading in Tripura," U. Venkatateswarlu, a top official of the animal resource development department said.


The remote northeastern state borders Bangladesh, where more than half the country's districts have been affected by the virus.


"Our main problem in controlling the situation is because of close proximity with Bangladesh," Venkatateswarlu added.


But many people disagreed.


For the past two days, while hundreds of birds mysteriously died in remote villages, complaints from people were largely ignored by state authorities, some officials and animal experts said.


"It is foolish on their part to blame Bangladesh for their own doing," N.G. Jayasimha of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights group, told Reuters from Mumbai.


"We had warned the Tripura government about bird flu and we told them the reason for the spread of bird flu is because of bad farm practices," he said by telephone.


"They sat on our report and did nothing."

(Cont. )


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