Discrimination in times of Covid 19 in India: The agonies of exclusion of the marginalized section

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Dr Karavi Barman


Covid 19 is the pandemic that has affected our lives in many ways, taking toll on every section of the society. The plight of the marginalized is beyond imagination and should the pandemic continue to rise at its peak, it is quite certain that the under privileged class would move into oblivion leading to extinction. Be it in terms of gender injustice, loss of livelihood, loss of lives, a state of lawlessness or inadequacy in terms of sectors- education, political and social, the pandemic has played a devastating effect in every nook and corner. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has forced many providing a platform to turn the challenges to opportunities but the already excluded ones are not accepted under the same roof. In a country like India, where the caste system had been responsible for many crimes like honour killing, the new norms of social distancing has further aggravated this form of evil in the present scenario. Even the heinous crimes like domestic violence, rape, theft and other socio-economic offences are sky rocketing under the shield of the lockdown of the justice delivery systems. Though the government had been efficient enough to play its key role in facilitating equal justice and unhindered access, the crux is that it had miserably failed to cater the needs of the downtrodden class and even after years of independence, they remain untouched. The cries of certain section of people gets suppressed in the midst of the pandemic as they remain outside the purview of  the essential services provided by the political heads of the nation. Evidence of disparate health impact on the minorities, unequal treatment, abusive forms of treatment suggest that social exclusion is compromising the effectiveness of efforts to stem the spread of the virus and the pandemic responses should strive to strengthen social inclusion and leave no one behind. Additionally, the sudden border closure has left many migrant workers stuck in precarious circumstances, putting their own health and that of others in dire consequences. The need of the hour is to suggest policy reforms to uplift these masses so that they could meet the survival needs of the society in the present scenario. Also, in many places discrimination and xenophobia are on the rise as fears about the virus are weaponized to scapegoat minorities. The paper is aimed to document the observed social exclusion and gross discrimination in the outbreak of Covid 19 cases across the world, specially, inside of India. The paper highlights the impact of the pandemic on the vulnerable sections exposing their vulnerability thereby paving a way to the theory of exclusion and calls for a humble attempt for inclusiveness in policy in wake of the social, moral, legal and political responsibilities on the part of a welfare state.

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