This article originally appeared on VICE India.
While most of the world is concerned with finding a way to cure or control the deadly coronavirus which has now crossed a death toll of over 1,770, a right-wing Hindu organisation, Hindu Mahasabha, has come up with its own origin story. Apparently, coronavirus is not the novel virus that has infected more than 70,500 people, but is actually an “avatar” that has been angered by all those who like to eat meat.
"Corona is not a virus, but an avatar for the protection of poor creatures,” said Swami Chakrapani, the National President of All India Hindu Mahasabha. “They have come to give the message of death and punishment to the one who eats them.” He was so set on his theory that he even painted a picture of how Lord Narsingh, the part-lion incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, had taken on a new avatar to teach the Chinese “a lesson” of “not torturing animals and turning vegetarian.”
So while the rest of the world scrambles about looking for a vaccine or preventative medicine to contain the spread of the virus, Chakrapani wants Chinese President Xi Jinping to "create an idol of Corona and seek forgiveness", with all non-vegetarian Chinese people making the "pledge of not harming any innocent creatures in future, then the anger of Corona will come down". Additionally, in this nonsensical world of his, "god worshipping and gau raksha (cow protection) believer Indians" are immune to coronavirus.
While experts have speculated that the coronavirus originated from a market in Wuhan, China, where humans were regularly in contact with live animals and meat, it seems highly unlikely that holding a ritual to ward off evil is going to achieve much to control coronavirus. These extremely well thought-out solutions are also courtesy the same organisation who earlier this year courted controversy when they said they would honour the gunman who shot a student at Jamia Millia Islamia University, and were also accused of recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019.
Still, the Hindu Mahasabha insists that if their prescribed steps are followed, the “avatar” will “return to its world”. But right now, the only avatar that needs to flee to its own planet is the one that embodies these ridiculous, unscientific notions in the face of one of the deadliest virus outbreaks.
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