The Bengaluru Police are probing the possible link of alleged attackers of Covid-19 warriors and protestors in the city's southwest suburb with homegrown Islamic outfits, like the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD) and the Popular Front of India (PFI).
"As some of the accused in the Padarayanapura incident, in which doctors and Asha healthcare workers were assaulted, admitted to be members of the DFI during questioning, we are trying to find how many of them are linked to the PFI," Bengaluru Southwest Deputy Superintendent of Police Krishna Kumar told IANS on Thursday (23 April).
Irfan, the alleged mastermind, is said to be a member of the PFI. "Around 20 accused, including Irfan, are still at large. They have been identified. They will be arrested soon and quizzed for their links to the radical groups," said Kumar.
An eight-member team under Additional Police Commissioner Soumendru Mukherjee and Joint Commissioner Sandeep Patil has been formed to investigate the 19 April violent incident, in which the healthcare workers were attacked and public property damaged.
The healthcare workers were in the area to get secondary contacts of three Covid-19 patients admitted to a quarantine centre.
Armed with the new law that allows punishment for attacks on healthcare workers and violent protests during the epidemic, the possible role of outsiders in them is also being investigated.
The two-decade-old KFD is an offshoot of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and is active in coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu. "The KFD merged in 2006 with the Kerala-based PFI, which is also active in Karnataka''s coastal areas," Kumar said.
Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Wednesday promulgated an ordinance to punish attackers of healthcare workers, fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
The Karnataka Epidemic Disease Ordinance, 2020 empowers the police to punish all who attack healthcare warriors, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and Asha women workers, treating Covid-19 victims.
The punishment includes 3-year jail and attachment of properties for damaging assets.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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