Bengaluru, Apr 04, 2020: The Karnataka government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court order directing the Central government to intervene and remove blockades erected on the national highways connecting Karnataka and Kerala for medical emergencies.
Politicians cutting across party lines opposed the Kerala High Court’s April 1 order directing the Central government to intervene and allow movement of people for medical emergencies from border areas of Kerala to Mangaluru, which is 35 km away. The border was sealed due to the lockdown implemented over the outbreak of COVID-19. Five deaths were reported from Manjeswaram of Kasaragod district after Karnataka closed its borders, Yahoo reported.
BJP leaders including Karnataka Tourism and Culture Minister CT Ravi took to social media to voice their opposition against the Kerala High Court’s decision asking the Centre to open the state highways leading to Kasaragod district.
"Communists and Congis always boasted that Kerala has the best healthcare facilities in the country. Then, why is CM Pinarayi Vijayan trying to push coronavirus infected patients to Mangaluru? Should Karnataka suffer due to the lack of vision and incompetence of Kerala’s leaders?," CT Ravi said in a social media post.
BJP leaders taunted Kerala’s famed healthcare facilities in social media posts.
"One of the basic facility for citizens is health care and people of Kasargod rely on Mangalore for it. What kind of development is yours then which you boast. No,we will not allow Borders to open what so ever," Mangaluru (South) BJP MLA Vedavyas Kamath said.
Congress leader Mithun Rai, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha Elections from Dakshina Kannada constituency in 2019, filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Kerala High Court’s order of April 1.
"This is not done as people in Karnataka as well as in Kerala are very much aware of the facts that the pandemic has been getting spread through the people traveling from Kerala to Karnataka through Mangalore. Then why are we interested in digging our own graves!," he said.
At least seven people have died from Manjeswaram of Kasaragod district after Karnataka closed its borders amid the lockdown. Residents in Manjeswaram travel to Mangaluru as its hospitals are just 15 kilometres away as opposed to hospitals in Kerala, where they have to travel 45 kilometres by road.
The decision to block the movement of people, even in case of medical emergencies, was taken last week after Dakshina Kannada district authorities decided to impose stringent lockdown measures. The move came after a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Kasaragod district of Kerala which neighbors Dakshina Kannada.
However, Karnataka’s blockade was opposed by politicians including former Indian Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah, two key opposition leaders in the state.
"Critical and essential travel from Kasaragod to Mangaluru should be allowed on humanitarian grounds. Patients from Kerala seeking medical assistance in Karnataka can be allowed with adequate precautionary measures. Our fight against Corona is beyond caste, religion and boundary.," Siddaramaiah said.
HD Deve Gowda, in a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, condemned the Karnataka government’s decision to block the border.
"I very strongly condemn the actions of the BJP government in Karnataka denying access to people from Kerala state to avail medical facilities on emergency and also the movement of essential goods for the survival of people and the deprivation of emergency services amounts to violation of human rights and opposed to all norms of humanity and humanitarian considerations," Deve Gowda said in a letter. Several others also slammed Karnataka Minister CT Ravi for his political opportunism and for being inhumane during a public emergency.