The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday, issued a show-cause notice to the Congress over the Mekedatu Padayatra, questioning that how a foot rally be allowed amid the Covid-19 third wave. The court also rebuked the BJP led Karnataka government for not taking any action.
Activist Nagendra Prasad AV had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Karnataka government, state officials and the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee over the ‘Padyatara’.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj asked the government to announce why it allowed the march within two days. The bench also questioned whether the protest march is being held with the government’s permission and asked if the government is waiting for court orders to take action against the violations of the Covid-19 protocols.
Karnataka Home Minister, Araga Jnanendra ensured that the government will take appropriate action at an appropriate time.
“We will take an appropriate action at an appropriate time. It’s not that we are letting them go. We are taking action. We are registering cases. Many who took part in the march have contracted COVID-19 while many did not get themselves tested despite symptoms.”K’taka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra
Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that they will not stop by police cases being filed against their leaders and members.
“We will wait and see the outcome of the case and decide on the future of the protest march which is scheduled to conclude in Bengaluru on January 19 after traversing across as many as 15 assembly constituencies spread over 100 Km in south Karnataka.”Congress Leader Siddaramaiah
The counsel appearing for the state government said that FIRs have been registered against the Congress leaders for conducting the ‘padayatra’ and breaking the COVID-19 protocols even after knowing that the political rallies have been banned in the state.
The Karnataka High Court bench also expressed its concern over the spread of virus due to the ‘padayatra’ as the state is already affected by the COVID-19 crisis and how such a thing, which is against the interest of the public, could take place.
The Mekedatu Padayatra with the motto, ‘Namma Neeru Namma Hakku’ (our water, our right) began at the Sangama, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura, will be spanning a distance of over 100 km. The march was taken up by the KPCC President DK Shivakumar to demand the speedy implementation of the Mekedatu Project. The aim of the project is to supply drinking water to Bengaluru.
The Padayatra turned into a political event, a healthcare worker went to collect the samples of DK Shivakumar for a COVID-19 test. However, Shivakumar refused to give his samples and termed it as a plot by the BJP government to stop the Padayatra by declaring him covid positive.