A common man died on November 3rd due to the traffic restrictions in place for the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh. Security restrictions during the movement of VVIP’s are notorious for causing inconveniences to the public, but unfortunately this time the delay was fatal.
The 32-year-old now widow of the patient received a letter from Singh stating “I am writing to you to express my profound sense of sadness at the death of your husband Shri Sumit Verma yesterday. I understand that he could not get access to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, in time because of the restrictions in place for my visit there. This is something I regret deeply. I have issued instructions, so that in future the authorities are more sensitive to the concerns of the common man, while imposing such restrictions for reasons of security.”
What changes will actually take place? In a country of 1.1 billion people is this a “collateral damage” or “necessary loss” that is to be expected? My cousin said, “This is India. If 1 person dies like this nobody pays attention. People die every day from tragic accidents. That’s life.” Being a public health practitioner, I’m befuddled by how many of these deaths can be prevented by structural changes.