Updated: March 16, 2020 12:45:35 pm
Surveillance measures imposed at Cochin International Airport in the wake of the Covid-19 spread in Kerala were wilfully violated late Sunday night after several people gathered outside the airport terminal to welcome a reality show contestant.
On the orders of the Ernakulam district administration, Nedumbassery Police have registered an FIR against Rajith Kumar, a contestant on the Malayalam version of the reality show Bigg Boss, three named persons and 75 unnamed persons under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 188 (disobedience of an order by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. No arrests have been made so far.
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Taking to Facebook, Ernakulam Collector S Suhas said, “In the backdrop of Covid-19, when the entire world is exercising caution, the actions of a TV show contestant and his fans association at the Cochin International Airport will shame every Malayali. At a time when religious, political and social organisations are abandoning public events and showing solidarity with the safety of the people, law enforcers cannot turn a blind eye to such violations of the law.”
Assuring that an FIR has been registered in the case, Suhas underlined, “Malayalis are not habituated to valuing celebrity-worshipping over human lives. The actions of certain people cause the disrespect of the Kerala society before the world.”
Several videos that propped up on social media showed close to 100 people, mostly youngsters armed with cell-phones and some even with infants, cheering as Kumar walked outside the airport terminal. A few police officers could be seen but they were clearly unable to control the crowd.
Kumar, a public speaker and a botany professor who has a huge fan base online, was returning to Kerala from Chennai after he was evicted from the reality show.
The incident comes just a day after a 57-year-old British tourist, who tested positive for coronavirus, was taken out of a Dubai-bound flight by authorities which was waiting for departure from the Cochin airport. The tourist, and his wife, had slipped out of quarantine from a resort in Munnar without the knowledge of authorities and was planning to leave the country. He, along with his wife, were admitted to the Kalamassery Medical College to be treated in isolation. Authorities are probing how the UK native managed to escape from quarantine and board the flight at the airport.
At present, there are 21 active Covid-19 cases and 10,944 people under observation in Kerala, out of which 10,655 people are under home quarantine.
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