Around 59 people were arrested today (April 20) for attacking police and health officials at the minority-dominated Padarayanapura in Bengaluru when they went to quarantine some people in the area.
"Fifty-nine people have been arrested (in Padarayanapura) and have been taken into custody. The people attacked the officials who had gone to quarantine some people who were the primary and secondary contacts of three COVID-19 patients," a police officer told news agency PTI.
The violence started after a large number of people, mostly youth from the minority community poured on to the road and thrashed the health officials on Sunday who had gone to quarantine some people from the densely populated locality who were the primary and secondary contacts of the health workers.
Videos of the entire incident have gone viral on social media The officials were allegedly beaten black and blue. When the locals came to the rescue of these officials, they were also thrashed.
According to reports, one among the arrested is a woman, identified as Firoza, who had allegedly instigated the mob to attack the health and police officials.
Subsequently, a large number of police personnel were deployed in the area to avert any untoward incident and to quarantine those who are suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Blowing sirens, a strong contingent of policemen carried out a flag march in the area.
Bhaskar Rao, IPS briefs CM Yediyurappa about the situation
The Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao, IPS later called on Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and briefed him about the situation in Padayarayanapura.
Taking to Twitter, Yediyurappa said that the police are free to take action against the mob and are free to use all available force to protect their lives.
The violent incident drew angry reactions from various quarters.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said an incident like the one at Padayarayanapura will not be tolerated.
"I met Chief Minister and briefed him about the incident. He has told us to act strictly. I have told the same to my officials. We won't tolerate such acts by anyone. We have arrested 59 people. Five FIRs have been registered," the minister told reporters.
Bommai, who visited the area took the senior police officials to task for not being present on the spot when the incident took place.
"Where were you? What were you doing when the incident happened?" he questioned a senior police officer.
"We will demonstrate to the people what is containment zone, what is seal down and what is police action," he said.
Condemning the incident, Health Minister B Srimulu warned those who indulged in such activities.
"The inhuman act of attacking police and health workers in Padarayanapura is highly deplorable. Our government will take an appropriate step against those indulging in the attack on health officials and police officials who had gone there to protect them," he tweeted.
BJP's firebrand MP Shobha Karandlaje reacted sharply."Seculars attack #CoronaWarriors when they were quarantining the secondary contacts of #Covid19 in Padarayanapura of BLR. While #HealthcareHeroes are working overnight to contain #CoronaPandemic, these morons are assaulting our heroes! Let's not be soft on these anti- nationals!" Karandlaje tweeted.
'Identify COVID-19 patients or carriers'
Meanwhile, the minority leaders called on Congress state president D K Shivakumar to persuade the people of the minority community to assist in identifying the COVID-19 patients or carriers.
Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy too condemned the attack and demanded stringent action against the culprits.
The Congress MLA from the area B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan while condemning the incident, sought to know why the health workers and police officials went to the area late in the night and not in the morning.
"Why did the police and the health workers go in the night when I had told the BBMP Commissioner that I will take them at 10 am?" Khan told reporters.
Defending those who attacked the government officials, Khan said they were uneducated labourers who didn't know what they were doing.
Padarayanapura and Bapuji Nagar were among the first areas to be completely sealed as people were not abiding by the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC.
(With agency inputs)