Fact check: BJP MP’s claim that Jamaat attendees spat at Belagavi hospital staff is fake

BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje had claimed that people in Belagavi who had attended the Jamaat meeting were spitting and misbehaving with hospital staff, a claim that has been debunked.
Fact check: BJP MP’s claim that Jamaat attendees spat at Belagavi hospital staff is fake
Fact check: BJP MP’s claim that Jamaat attendees spat at Belagavi hospital staff is fake
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BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje on Monday took to social media to claim that some people from Belagavi, who were quarantined after they attended the Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi, were misbehaving and spitting at the healthcare workers of the hospital that they were taken to. 

However, this claim has been denied by Belagavi Deputy Commissioner SB Bommanahalli, who said that the people quarantined in the district were not spitting or misbehaving with health workers.

Shobha also tweeted a video of what appeared to be a packed isolation ward which showed one person briefly dancing. It also showed people in the ward interacting with three others across a window suggesting that people who tested positive for coronavirus were mingling with others who had not. 

"70 people from Belagavi attended Nizamuddin Markaj, among thm 8 tested positive, rest of the results yet to come. In quarantine wards, Tablighis are misbehaving with our health workers, dancing and spitting everywhere. Nation wants to know the intentions of Tablighi Jamaat!, (sic)" Shobha had claimed in a tweet. 

But in a detailed response by Dr Vinay Bastikop, Director, Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences, it was revealed that there were only 33 people admitted in the hospital that attended the Tablighi Jamaat in March and that the three people who tested positive were in a separate isolation ward.

"33 suspect cases of attendees of Tablighi Jamaat with travel history were admitted to BIMS hospital on 31-03-2020 since noon and swab samples of all were drawn on 01-04-2020 and they were advised quarantine under observation the samples were sent to VDRL Lab at Shimoga and the results were received on 03-04-2020 late evening following confirmatory results the 3 positive patients were each kept in a separate isolation ward and the remaining negative cases were discharged and along with help of District administration were shifted to quarantine facility outside the hospital and shall be followed up at the end of the quarantine period," read a note by Dr Vinay Bastikop.

"The video aired on the channel has been filmed by the suspect cases themselves and should have been around the time when they were being separated from the COVID negative suspects. Mentioning that the positive patients are freely roaming within the hospital is not true, they have been kept in a separate isolation ward and have been counselled and medication has been started, regular follow up with the patients is being done on a daily basis, currently, they are on treatment keeping good health and are under constant observation," stated the note by Dr Vinay Bastikop.

"The hospital management has personally interacted with all suspects and positive patients and counselled them in regards to maintaining hygiene and how to take protective measures," the note by Dr Vinay Bastikop added.

Shobha's statements come immediately after Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa warning that the Muslim community should not be blamed for isolated incidents.Seven coronavirus cases were reported in Belagavi as of April 6, among which three are attendees of the Tablighi Jamaat. The total number of cases in Karnataka is currently 163.

This is not the first time the BJP MP has been called out for publishing fake news on social media. In 2017, Shobha Karandlaje courted trouble from police in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka when she claimed that a young Hindu man Paresh Mesta had been mutilated and castrated and that boiling oil was poured over his head, and his head was split with a weapon. This was after the dead body of Paresh Mesta was discovered in Honnavara of Uttara Kannada district. The claims were later refuted in a detailed note issued by Kasturba Hospital in Manipal where the post mortem was conducted. 

In 2019, Shobha claimed that Shivu Uppar, a man from Belagavi was killed for protecting cows from smugglers. However, the police later refuted this statement and said that he killed himself.

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