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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Bengaluru Covid ‘bed blocking’ scam: Chorus grows against BJP leaders for allegedly trying to ‘communalise’ issue

As per a video live-streamed from Bangalore South BJP MP Tejasvi Surya's YouTube account, he is heard reading out names of 17 people, with Muslim names, while questioning the official in charge.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 6, 2021 7:07:16 am
Covid-19 patients share beds and medical oxygen at a hospital. (PTI)

A day after a video indicating BJP leaders reading out names of BBMP South Zone Covid-19 war room staff members from a particular community went viral, there has been widespread criticism against the leaders for allegedly “trying to communalise” the issue.

As per a video live-streamed from Bangalore South BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s YouTube account, he is heard reading out names of 17 people, with Muslim names, while questioning the official in charge, “Who appointed these people?” Similar claims are being made by BJP MLAs Satish Reddy, Ravi Subramanya, and Uday Garudachar as well, as seen in the video.

However, BBMP’s South Zone in-charge Special Commissioner Thulasi Maddineni is seen replying, “Those who had applied for the positions were recruited.” Further, Basavanagudi MLA Subramanya is seen questioning a staff member, “Have you been recruited for any madrasa or for the corporation? We are facing flak from the public for your misdeeds. We have enough information on who are blocking beds and how much money such people are collecting.”

At the same time, Bommanahalli MLA Reddy asks Maddineni, “Will these people be answerable to the public?” alleging the recruitment was done “intentionally.”

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah termed the BJP leaders’ conduct as “really unfortunate and insensitive”. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the former CM said, “Tejasvi Surya and other MLAs were seen asking if the workers were appointed to run a madrasa after reading out the names. Kannadigas are asking if Yediyurappa, his council of ministers, MLAs and MPs are elected to run Hindu burial grounds?”

Further, in a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah wrote, “It is really unfortunate & insensitive on the part of @BJP4Karnataka MP @Tejasvi_Surya to communalise the issue. From food to death, BJP leaders want to earn political mileage by targeting few communities.”

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP Syed Naseer Hussain and AICC spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa released a list of 205 employees working at the BBMP South Zone war room, condemning the BJP leaders’ action to selectively read out only 17 Muslim names from the same.

“For instance, MP Tejasvi Surya could see (Employee) Number 42 Zameer Pasha and number 49 Nuhiya Nazmeen on the list, he has not seen other names in the list such as Bindu (Employee number 50), Ranjitha (51), and Vinutha (52),” Kalappa specified.

At the same time, Vinay Sreenivasa, an advocate and a member of the Alternative Law Forum urged Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant to register an FIR against the BJP leaders. “They should be booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity) and 295A (outraging sentiments), and 505 (2) (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code. In reading only the names of the 17 Muslim employees and making communal remarks they have promoted enmity and hatred,” Sreenivasa said.

Earlier on Tuesday, DCP (South) Harish Pandey had confirmed the arrest of Nethravathy (40), a social worker, and Rohith Kumar (22), her nephew in an alleged bed-booking scam. The duo was arrested after a sting operation was conducted by the police.

“Our team approached them for beds posing as relatives of a COVID-19 patient. We then realised that the duo, from Begur, would charge between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 after understanding the financial status of the person seeking a bed,” Pandey said.

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