After five prisoners, accused in the violence that broke out in Bengaluruâ€™s Padarayanapura ward, tested positive for coronavirus, the Opposition leaders criticised the state government way of handling the situation.
All 116 persons arrested in the case were transferred to a jail in Ramanagara district on Thursday, among which, five were tested positive on Friday. Many legislators have questioned the state government's decision to shift the prisoners to Ramanagara district, which has, incidentally, recorded zero coronavirus cases so far.
According to Suresh Kumar, Education Minister and in-charge of addressing press for COVID-19, said, "It was an administrative decision by the Prisons Department. The IGP (Inspector-general of police) checked how many prisoners are there in Parappana Agrahara and then took this decision.
Reacting to the development, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President DK Shivakumar, said, "Since Ramanagara is in a green zone, why is the government adding to its problems? There are so many hostels and hospitals in Bengaluru where the prisoners could be isolated," DK Shivakumar told TNM. Shivakumar is the MLA of Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, neighbouring Bengaluru.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also criticised the state government for its lapse. "The Additional Deputy General of Police (Prisons) has told the court that because of lack of space in Parappana Agrahara, they will be shifted to Ramanagara. But we are talking about people from the red zone being shifted. They should have been isolated in a hostel in Bengaluru or in Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru," Kumaraswamy said.
Kumaraswamy is the MLA of Channapatna in Ramanagara district and he had won from both Channapatna and Ramanagara constituencies in the 2018 Assembly elections. His wife Anita Kumaraswamy is the current MLA of Ramanagara constituency.
He further revealed that two of the prisoners who tested positive were transported to Bengaluru along with a batch of 49 prisoners who travelled along with five police personnel. "First, transporting them here was a mistake but the lack of medical care provided to those who brought them here was also a mistake. People dealing with prisoners from a red zone should have been given personal protective equipment (PPE)," Kumaraswamy added.
He also stated that the people who came in contact with the prisoners should be quarantined in government-run centres or in their homes. This includes officials at the jail in Ramanagara and officials at the Police Kalyana Mantapa in Koramangala in Bengaluru where the prisoners were kept briefly after their arrest on Monday.
The remaining 112 prisoners from the Padarayanapura violence have now been shifted to the Haj Bhavan, a quarantine facility in Bengaluru.
There are as many as 116 persons arrested in connection with mob violence that broke out on Sunday. Visuals, which were shared widely on television and social media, showed a mob damaging barricades in Padarayanapura during COVID-19 surveillance work. Eleven patients have tested positive for the virus in Padarayanapura, including people who visited the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.
(With inputs from Soumya Chatterjee)