An FIR has been registered against Tamil newsreader and actor S Varadharajen after his self-shot video recounting the ordeal of his COVID-19 infected friend went viral. The action comes a day after Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar took an exception to Varadharajen’s claims.
Varadharajen has been booked under sections 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 505(1)(b)(spreading misinformation with intent to cause fear or alarm to public), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and provisions of Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act.
Varadharajen had made an emotional video about an incident involving his friend. He said he was moved to tears after knowing the trouble his friend’s family was put through when they sought medical treatment. “He is very close to my family. He had problems breathing and it looked like a corona attack. But, there were no beds at hospitals. All big hospitals and government hospitals in Chennai told the family not to get him to the hospital. They said they can’t provide treatment. We sought help at the government secretary level, and we even spoke with owners, MDs, chairman of hospitals. Nobody could help us. They all are very frank,” he said.
Varadharajen also asked everyone to be extremely cautious and not to step out unless it was absolutely necessary.
Varadharajen’s video, however, did not go down well with the Tamil Nadu government. Minister Vijayabaskar held a press conference to counter the claims of Varadharajen and publicly warned of legal action under the Epidemic Diseases Act against him.
“This is very wrong. At the time of such crisis, to say there are no beds available at government and private hospitals is condemnable,” Vijayabaskar told the media in Chennai on Monday.
Varadharajen later released another video saying that the health of his friend in question has improved and he’s on the road to recovery. He also claimed that the earlier video he made was intended only for his friends’ circle. And that he never thought it would go viral. He also appreciated the government’s efforts in handling the outbreak of coronavirus.
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