‘No Question of Being Soft’: CM on COVID-19 Violence in Bengaluru

No policemen or health workers were injured in the incident. 

2 min read

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Violent protests erupted in Bengaluru’s Padarayanapaura area late on the night of Sunday, 19 April, when a team of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials along with police arrived there to take 58 secondary contacts of a deceased COVID-19 patient into a dedicated quarantine centre.

Fifty-nine people were arrested after the incident.

No policemen or health workers were attacked, said B Ramesh, deputy commissioner of police, west. Padarayanapura is one of the two municipal wards in the city sealed by the city administration after being declared hotspots for the coronavirus.

A group of 25-30 men went on a rampage vandalising a police check-post and breaking barricades. The entire episode lasted for about 20 minutes. The area is now under the control of the police.

“It was gundagiri against the police, BBMP and health department. It is being looked into seriously. We will not tolerate such behaviour against health workers. There is no question of issuing warnings etc to those in home quarantine, the government is fighting COVID-19 and will take whatever action is necessary.”
CM B S Yediyurappa

The CM also questioned MLA Zameer Ahmed’s statement that residents should have been given notice o the authorities should have gone in the say time.

“Instead of saying that strict action should be taken against perpetrators, he is speaking like this. Can the government work according to him? Can we then believe that he had something to do with the incident?,” CM told mediapersons.

The health department said the area had reported 10 positive cases until 17 April, including seven people from a single building.

“I have briefed the chief minister. He has told us to act strictly. I have told the same to my officials. We won’t tolerate such acts by anyone. We have arrested 59 people. Five FIR have been registered. I’m going to Padarayanapura and we will make sure quarantine is enforced.”
Soumendu Mukherjee, Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), West

Decision to Shift Contacts Led to Violence

On Sunday, the BBMP decided to shift secondary contacts in the area to hotels, since the locality was densely populated and there were violations of home-based quarantine.

Around 25 BBMP staffers and police personnel went to the houses of the contacts and convinced 10-12 of them to be quarantined.

After shifting the first batch of secondary contacts, when the officials went back to get the rest of the contacts, violence erupted.


Authorities Acted Without Preparation: Locals

A resident of the area, who didn’t want to be named, told The Quint that the authorities acted in haste without proper preparation. “Police or the BBMP didn’t contact any local leaders before taking this step. The decision was taken in a hurry. People are already worried because of the messages they are receiving on social media. Instead of coming with buses to take people, they should have taken the help local MLAs or community leaders to explain the decision to the people,” he said.

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