In the last few days, Bengaluru is slowly starting to recover with fewer COVID cases, but the fight is far from over. Despite the lockdown, the need to test and treat COVID early is essential and the city's civic body BBMP has been conducting random COVID tests in different areas. But a viral video showing an altercation between youth and some officials at the BBMP COVID test booth has drawn severe backlash on Twitter. Here's what exactly happened.
A viral video clip showing an altercation between a youth a few workers at the BBMP COVID testing camp has been shared widely on Twitter, drawing strong backlash and criticism. The video shows two men trying to grab a youth and forcibly take him to the BBMP officials sitting at the camp. The video also shows a heated argument between the youth and the officials, which quickly escalated as the workers were seen thrashing and hitting the young man. A few passersby even try to break the assault but fail to do so. The brutal assault against the civilian by people who appeared to be authority has drawn severe backlash, demanding the BBMP commissioner to sack them.
Many users who shared the video claimed the two men thrashing the youth were trying to get him tested for COVID-19. The posts also claim that the men were BBMP officials and the incident took place in Bengaluru's Nagrathpet area.
International Business Times reviewed the video and the claims. While it is true that the incident did take place in Bengaluru and at one of the BBMP testing booths, the claim about the two BBMP officials thrashing the youth for refusing COVID test is not entirely true. As per our independent research, it was found that the men thrashing the young man were not BBMP officials, rather BMTC bus drivers who were on booth duty.
As for what led to the altercation, it wasn't that the youth refused the COVID test. The youth was in the queue assuming it was for vaccination, but he later realised it was for COVID test. By then, the youth had gotten the OTP on his phone, but he refused to share with the officials. After extended argument, the quarrel started, which then led to the appalling behaviour demonstrated by the KSRTC drivers on booth duty.
As seen in the video, the officials were not stopping every passerby and harassing them over COVID testing, which would be the case if there were assigned targets.
BBMP commissioner has condemned the incident and ordered an enquiry.
"Daily, BBMP officials from Dasappa BBMP Hospital conduct Covid testing on Nagaratpete Main Road. Today, a person by name (name masked), mistook it for vaccination and registered himself. When the OTP was generated, he realised it was for Covid testing and not for vaccination and therefore refused to undergo the test. At this juncture he was assaulted by a BBMP Booth level officer by name Nagabhushan. Suo moto FIR under sections 341, 323, 504 of IPC against errant official," jurisdictional DCP Anuchet has said in view of the incident.
IBTimes spoke to Anuchet, IPS, who was able to confirm to us that the persons hitting the pedestrian in the video were BMTC bus drivers who were on BBMP booth duty for COVID testing. Since no victims have come forward, the police registered a suo motu case, and further investigation is underway.
Anuchet, IPS, also confirmed to us that the young man had mistaken the COVID testing booth for vaccination camp and that BBMP was not forcing pedestrians to get tested for the virus.
Dr Shivakumar, Health Officer, BBMP (South), also said that officials have been warned against such behaviour and to not force anybody for testing. "It is an unfortunate incident. We have warned our officials against such behaviour. We have directed our staff not to force anybody for the testing," he said.
Note: There's no defending the action. It is fit for a criminal case to be booked against the erring officials. But the facts must be presented; hence the fact check.