Reacting to the incident, which is said to have taken place in Chickpet, BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that a departmental investigation has been ordered.

Bengaluru boy getting thrashed by BBMP official for refusing COVID-19 testScreengrab
news COVID-19 Monday, May 24, 2021 - 16:21

In a brazen incident of highhandedness by authorities, a teenager was thrashed by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials for apparently not cooperating when asked to be tested for coronavirus. A video being circulated shows the boy being mercilessly beaten. BBMP officials on condition of anonymity confirmed that the incident took place in Nagarathpet which comes under Dharmaraya Swamy Temple ward in Chickpet constituency of the South Zone. Police in Bengaluru has said that the altercation took place after the boy had initially mistaken the testing booth for a vaccination camp. "Daily, BBMP officials from Dasappa BBMP Hospital conduct Covid testing on Nagaratpete Main Road. Today, a person by name (name masked),  mistook it for vaccination and registered himself. When the OTP was generated, he realised it was for Covid testing and not for vaccination and therefore refused to undergo the test. At this juncture he was assaulted  by a BBMP Booth level officer by name Nagabhushan. Suo moto FIR under sections 341, 323, 504 of IPC against errant official," jursdictional DCP Anuchet told reprorters. 

In the video, a boy wearing a blue shirt can be seen being overpowered by two officials wearing peach and white shirts. While the man in the white is holding the young boy’s hands, the other man is seen hitting the boy on his neck and face. The boy helplessly tries to defend himself but is forced to the ground. Later, one official is seen holding the boy’s neck and almost banging the his head on a table. While this happens, two other men passing by are seen trying to pacify the two officials. But the other officials sitting at the table seem reluctant to stop the two officials.

Some questioned why the boy was forced to take a test when he was apparently asymptomatic, given that the state government has decided not to test asymptomatic people. On the other hand, many people across the state have complained that they have been refused tests by officials for being asymptomatic.

Read: Expert committee asks Karnataka to suspend random testing for COVID-19 (April 26)

Reacting to the incident, BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that a departmental investigation has been ordered. He said that strict action will be taken against the guilty. He said that officials cannot force people even though the BBMP is trying to ramp up test numbers.

In light of the video going viral, other videos of BBMP’s alleged highhandedness in other parts of the city too have surfaced. One video shows a man being seemingly forced out of a building by officials. It is alleged that the incident also took place in the same area.

TNM had reported similar situations taking place in mid-March in Majestic and other busy areas of the city in the name of random testing. It was then reported how among other factors testing targets for field teams resulted in harassment of the public.

Read: Is forced COVID-19 testing in Bengaluru justified and does it help in any way?

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