Two Padarayanapura riot accused who were housed in a jail in a district 50 km from Bengaluru have tested positive for Covid-19.
Bengaluru’s Padarayanapura had recently been in the news when a group of people said to be instigated by a drug peddler and rowdy-sheeter had attacked a group of visiting health officials.
Bengaluru Police had arrested 121 people in this matter and the riot accused had been shifted to a prison in Ramanagara district. Two of these under trials have now tested positive for coronavirus.
Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, whose wife Anita Kumaraswamy represents the constituency, had tweeted late Thursday night demanding that the riot accused be moved from the district prison in Ramanagara and warned the government of resorting to violent/fierce protests if his demand was not met.
He had objected initially too on the grounds that the district had remained a green zone until this move to shift the Padarayanapura accused there.
The two have now been shifted to Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru. The remaining 119 continue to be in jail, isolated from other prisoners, and have tested negative.
Calling it the result of the government’s imprudence, he said the people of Ramanagara were now in fear with the two under trials testing positive.
“Ramangara was one of the only eight districts that remained corona free in the state,” he said, adding that ignoring his earlier warnings had now made the district susceptible to the virus.
“The accused were lodged in the district jail, as the central jail in the city's southern outskirts was crowded and the authorities did not want to risk,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (West) Krishna Kumar, as reported. All of these 121 were lodged in separate cells.
Kumaraswamy had written a letter earlier seeking that the accused be housed in a government hospital, hostel or any other building and that if they failed to do so, “the government and the concerned officials would be directly responsible for any disaster that took place henceforth”.
He has, in a media interaction now, accused Prisons ADGP Alok Mohan of resorting to this action to get even with Kumaraswamy who, as chief minister, had not facilitated the former’s attempt to become the commissioner of Bengaluru.
As it was on Mohan’s orders that the rioters were moved to Ramanagara, Kumaraswamy has said “it looks like he may have done this on accord of his hatred towards me”.
He sought a probe into the issue and said that if the officer had any personal scores to settle, he could do so but not “pour out his hate on the people of Ramanagara”.
Anita Kumaraswamy too is said to have warned the government that they would “have to take to the streets and protest” if the Padarayanapura accused are not moved from the district at the earliest.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai has defended the decision of the state but said the accused would all be moved to the Haj Bhavan in the light of the recent developments.
With inputs from IANS.
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