Family members of a person who passed away due to COVID-19 in Belagavi, which is around 500 kilometres from Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru, allegedly set ablaze an ambulance and tried to vandalise the hospital.
The incident took place at the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences (BIMS) on Wednesday night. The victim, a 55-year-old man who had Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARI), was admitted to the hospital on July 19. He was found to have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – and was in the Intensive Care Unit. However, he succumbed to the disease on Wednesday.
Angry relatives of the patient, who were part of a larger crowd, came to BIMS and allegedly set the ambulance on fire. Visuals of the incident show the vehicle in flames with the sound of fire engines in the background. The ambulance was charred and mangled. The police officials reached the spot following the incident.
A case has been registered by the police against eight persons and 10-15 others whose identities are not yet known. The FIR has been filed under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault to criminal force against a public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to public servant), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used as weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or by means of fire or any heated substance), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50), 435 (mischief by fire), 504 (intentional insult or provocation to break public peace), and 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. The accused have also been booked under the Karnataka Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act 1961, Disaster Management Act 2005, and Epidemic Disease Act 1897.
Karnataka has been seeing a surge in daily coronavirus cases, and has been reporting over 4,000 cases. On Wednesday, the state reported 4,664 new patients and 55 deaths. The state has a total of 47,069 active cases – of whom 618 are in the ICU – and 27,239 recoveries.
Belagavi has the third-highest number of COVID-19 patients in the state, after Bengaluru Urban (27,969 active) and Udupi (910) active. In Belagavi, 859 patients are under treatment for COVID-19, while 1,315 people have tested coronavirus positive till date. The district has also reported 426 people who have been discharged post recovery from the illness, and 30 deaths.