Kerala which had objected to Karnataka sealing its borders when there was an initial spike in cases in Corona is now returning the favour by restricting return of those who head to Mangalore and other parts of Dakshina Kannada for work.
Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan in a video statement announced that people from Kasaragod and Manjeshwar who travel to Mangalore will not permitted to return to Kerala more than once a month.
Thousands of people who are on the Kerala side of the border travel to various pockets of the nearby districts for work as the northern most town of ‘God’s own Country’ is largely dependent on Dakshina Kannada for education, employment as well as medical facilities.
As movement between the two states had been restricted owing to the pandemic, government of Karnataka had facilitated movement of people and issued e-passes for the same. The pass had been extended until 11 July 2020. But the current announcement bars the return of those heading to the neighbouring district for work and had left citizens in border areas and Kasaragod in distraught. “This is an illogical and inhumane move. How can the government shift responsibility on the Karnataka government? Where will residents go if they can only enter Kerala borders once a month” said a resident.
Regular commuters were left wondering at the border at Talapady as the Kerala government has put in place the very regulations that it had objected to and even approached the supreme court against Karnataka. In March, member of parliament from Kasaragod, Rajmohan Unnithan had filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking the apex court to direct Karnataka to open its borders. Hearing a PIL regarding the matter, the Kerala High Court had even called it “an infringement of right to life, and freedom of movement”. All these arguments seem to not hold any value for the state which ironically is barring its own citizens from entering the district.
“The decision to restrict movement has been taken to reduce the spread of the pandemic. Anyone who heads to Karnataka will have to stay there for the next 28 days. This is being done to prevent the spread of the virus through social contact,” said revenue minister E Chandrashekharan, as reported. And this rule shall be applicable to doctors as well as other medical and health officials who have been travelling between the two districts.
The Kasaragod district administration will put up barricades at the borders which will be banned by three officials. Those who have to travel across for inevitable and urgent reasons will be permitted only after the verification of their aadhaar card and other related documents.
This hypocrisy on the part of the Kerala government is being called out by locals who have had to initially fight for facilitating treatment in their own town or and now to be able to earn their living across the border.
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