BJP MP’s graft charge gets communal, hits Covid work | India News

BJP MP’s graft charge gets communal, hits Covid work | India News
BENGALURU: The bed-for-bribe scam, highlighted by ruling BJP’s lawmakers on Tuesday and amplified by social media posts, severely disrupted Bengaluru’s Covid management system on Wednesday. Several volunteers and contract workers in BBMP zonal war rooms stayed away amid social media insinuations that “terrorists” were at work.
While police detained seven people, including two contract doctors from BBMP, and nine others for questioning, workers, especially from the minority communities, did not report to duty for fear of being branded “terrorists”.
BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta confirmed that the civic body’s war rooms ran short of staff at a time when the system too crashed due to overload and overwhelming calls and enquiries. Bengaluru has been consistently clocking over 20,000 cases over the past few days and has the highest active cases in the country at over 3 lakh.
The developments also impacted volunteers on the ground as well as crematoriums. “We have deployed three volunteers each at 55 hospitals and more than 40 people did not turn up. When we called them, they said they didn’t want to take a risk till there is clarity that no terrorists are involved,” said Girish Mattennavar, director, BBMP Citizen Help Group for Covid Operations.
Videos of Bengaluru South MP and BJP Yuva Morcha national president Tejasvi Surya reading out names of 17 Muslim contract employees when he visited the South Zone war room on Tuesday and alleging that touts and BBMP officials were involved in blocking beds went viral. He’s heard asking senior officials on what basis those contractual employees had been appointed. The war room has 210 employees but he chose to highlight 17 Muslim ones.
Surya’s uncle and BJP MLA Ravi Subramanya, who accompanied him along with fellow MLAs Satish Reddy and Udaya Garudachar, is heard shouting at BBMP officials: “Have you appointed these people to a madrassa or corporation?”
When contacted by TOI, Surya, however, insisted he never intended to give a communal colour to the scam. “Why would I be so stupid to turn this humongous fraud into a communal issue? Covid is a secular virus that it won’t infect people based on religion. I’m not from that tribe of politicians who milk tragedies,” he said, adding: “In fact, one of the arrested, Rohit, is not a Muslim.”
On people staying away from work, Surya said: “Don’t worry. We have enough volunteers and we’ll send them if BBMP wants.”
Abdul Razak, a volunteer with social organisation Mercy Angels, said 150 of 250 people involved in cremation and burial of Covid victims are Muslims and they’re all upset. “Nobody stayed away from work on Wednesday; I don’t know about Thursday as many of us are demoralised,” he said.
Surya’s allegations have triggered charges and counter-charges between ruling BJP and opposition Congress. Former chief minister and leader of opposition Siddaramaiah tweeted; “Why do you tend to bring in the communal angle in all possible issues from food to human lives, Tejasvi Surya? The communal virus staying in your brain is more dangerous than the coronavirus. Take treatment for that.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.