Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar published a critical story on its front page today on the ground reality of Covid deaths in the state. The report was headlined, "1.23 lakh death certificates issued in 71 days, though the government only registered 4,218 Covid-related deaths".
The 1.23 lakh death certificates were issued between March 1 to May 10 this year in contrast to 58,000 issued last year during the same time period. The newspaper added that the state government, which "hid" the numbers, was now exposed by its own departments.
Journalist Deepak Patel translated the news report from Gujarati to English in a Twitter thread. Though the figures had doubled from last year, Patel wrote, the state government data noted only 4,218 Covid deaths between March 1 and May 10.
For instance, in Ahmedabad city, 7,786 death certificates were issued during the 71-day period in 2020. This year, the city issued 13,593 death certificates in the same period, while Ahmedabad's official Covid death toll is just 2,126. Similar calculations were drawn up for other cities in Gujarat.
In Amreli district, while government data said that only 36 people died of Covid in the 71-day time period this year, 5,449 death certificates were issued, as compared to 1,712 last year.
Divya Bhaskar has been diligent in pointing out fallacies in state government claims related to Covid. In April, it published the phone number of the state BJP chief on its front page demanding how he'd got his hands on 5,000 vials of Remdesivir.
On April 26, in the wake of revelations that the , Divya Bhaskar published a moving obituary for the over 5,000 people who had lost their lives to the virus in the state at that time.