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Karnataka march: High Court asks govt, Congress to explain

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi also asked the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee if they had sought permission for the protest march, and if participants were following the appropriate Covid protocol.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 13, 2022 7:21:04 am
Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D K Shivakumar at a press conference before the start of the 3rd day of the 10-day march, near Bengaluru on Tuesday. (PTI)

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the BJP government in the state to explain how the Congress party was being allowed to hold a 10-day march over the Mekedatu reservoir project despite a rise in Covid-19 cases.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi also asked the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) if they had sought permission for the protest march, and if participants were following the appropriate Covid protocol.

The High Court queries came as it heard a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Nagendra Prasad A V.

The Opposition party’s 100-km ‘walk for water’ march for the project on the Cauvery River, which will facilitate drinking water supplies to Bengaluru and its surrounding areas, began January 9. Amid a surge in Covid cases and a looming Omicron threat, restrictions on public gatherings have been in force across Karnataka since January 6.

“Looking at the present Covid pandemic situation and taking into consideration the large increase of Covid cases per day in the state, we call upon the state government to inform the court as to how and why the rallies, protests, demonstrations or dharnas, more particularly the rally/padayatra held by respondent No. 6 (KPCC) is being permitted to continue and why no appropriate action has been taken by the state authorities to restrain respondent No. 6 from any such activities,” the High Court said.

The court also questioned the Congress’s decision to hold the rally. It said: “Respondent No. 6 (KPCC) is hereby called upon to inform as to whether any due permission was taken by them to hold the impugned rally and whether in the said rally, they are taking all appropriate steps to ensure compliance of the Covid protocol, guidelines and standard operating procedure issued by the state government and what measures have been taken and are being taken by them to adhere to the above and in case of violation, what action they propose to take.”

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