A day after BJP MLA Masala Jayaram held a birthday celebration with hundreds of people, violating the nationwide lockdown for COVID-19, the Karnataka police have registered an FIR against three of his supporters and other unidentified persons. The FIR however suggests that the legislator was visiting various villages in Tumakuru to spread awareness about the coronavirus outbreak. It also suggests a birthday celebration was held by his supporters and that he was not present.
This is despite several pictures and videos from the celebration showing Masala Jayaram eating cake fed by a supporter amid a crowd of people.
The FIR was based on suo-motu action taken by the police after videos of the celebration emerged. It was registered at the Chandrashekarapura police station in Tumakuru district under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Masala Jayaram, who is the legislator from Turuvekere constituency, celebrated his birthday with a lavish spread at a government school in Idaguru village of Tumakuru district. Residents of Gubbi taluk attended the celebration at the school and were served biryani.
Videos and photos of the celebration were shared widely on social media. One of the videos even showed the MLA giving a speech before he cut the cake. A pandal was also erected inside the school premises and several cooks were tasked with making biryani.
Masala Jayaram was dressed for the occasion wearing a Mysuru pete and wrapped in a purple shawl, wearing white latex gloves.
People were seen wearing masks but few adhered to the norms of social distancing. The MLA, who was initially wearing gloves and a mask, later took them off while eating the cake. In visuals, people could be seen standing close to each other, cheering and taking photographs while the MLA ate the cake.
But the FIR registered at Chandrashekarapura Pura police station says Jayaram was not in the village when his birthday was celebrated. "Around 3 pm he came to Idaguru village, distributed masks and soaps, spread awareness about coronavirus and returned. After he left, his supporters celebrated his birthday violating government order on lockdown. His supporters celebrated the birthday calling all party workers, without maintaining social distancing and food was also served," the FIR reads.
BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel has asked the MLA for an explanation after the visuals from the celebration were shared widely.