Revealing that he and his family are getting threats calls from powerful people in the country demanding instant supplies of the covid-19 vaccine, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India has fled to Britain. The threats to Poonawalla became particularly noticeable after the Modi government announced its vaccine liberalisation and universalisation programme.
While covering the election results today, India Today journalist, Rahul Kanwal in a rather slip of the tongue, revealed a shocking incident on how Adar Poonawalla’s SII factory in Pune was captured by Shiv Sena goons.
Recalling the incident, Kanwal said, “…And I actually saw this. He (Adar Poonawalla) sent me some videos of some Shiv Sena locals showing up outside his factory, giving him the choicest of gaalis (abuses) and saying ‘humko pehle do’ (give us the vaccines first) and this is bizarre.”
The Times quoted Poonawalla from his recent interview saying, “Threats is an understatement. The level of expectations and aggression is unprecedented. It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why anyone else should get it before them.”
Further detailing the threats, Poonawalla said that they said it won’t be good if the vaccine is not given to them quickly. He said it’s not the foul language he is worried about but the tone.
Due to the nature of threats that Poonawalla received, the Ministry of Home Affairs was forced to issue orders granting him Y-category security cover across India. The Y-category security includes 11 personnel, including one or two commandos and police personnel.
Poonawalla was also targeted on social media by liberals for the expensive pricing of the Covishield vaccine, which was previously to be sold at Rs, 400 per vial. However, Adar Poonawalla announced a reduction in the initial price by ₹100 to ₹300 per vial, after the opposition.
This wouldn’t be new that any businessman had been harassed by any political party workers. Shiv Sena’s goons beating someone or threatening people is nothing hidden from the country. It is open now that SII, its employees and Adar Poonawalla were harassed by the party workers and now the chief of the party needs to answer to this. Poonawalla in the interview to the Times had hinted that he might establish a factory in the UK. Thus, if Shiv Sena is responsible for SII to look for another site for the vaccine production, then the party must be brought under scrutiny. Such miscreants and behaviour is not only making Maharashtra an unfavourable business destination but is also risking India’s Coronavirus vaccination campaign.