Bengaluru, April 4, 2020: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Saturday categorically refused to open Karnataka’s borders for Kerala as doing so will be "embracing death."
Yediyurappa made the government’s stand clear in a three-page response to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who has thrown his weight behind Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the issue.
"The decision to close the Karnataka-Kerala border was not sudden. It was a conscious decision that was based on a study and documentation of the health situation in the border areas," Yediyurappa stated. "The Indian Medical Association’s data on the spread of COVID-19 in Kasargod and surrounding areas was alarming. Even the Kerala government has information on the spread of the virus in this region."
Yediyurappa pointed out that Kasargod had 106 COVID-19 positive cases. "This region has the highest density of cases across the country. If this restriction is removed, it puts the health of Kannadigas under risk. It’ll create a situation of embracing death. Hence, we will not be able to open the border," Yediyurappa said, reiterating the government’s decision.
On March 31, Gowda had asked Yediyurappa to open the borders on "humanitarian grounds" so as to allow ambulances from Kerala to reach Mangaluru for treatment. Subsequently, the JD(S) supremo wrote to Vijayan lambasting the BJP government in Karnataka for the border blockade, saying the closure of the interstate highway between Mangaluru and Kasargod had brought him "pain and anguish". The JD(S) is a coalition partner in Kerala.
There is no political motivation behind the border blockage, Yediyurappa said. "I respect your views that the border should be opened on humanitarian grounds. But if we open up the border, it’ll be impossible to identify who is infected and who is not," he said, adding that opening the border will open a Pandora’s box that will be disastrous for the state.
"It’s worthy to mention here that the Opposition parties have been supportive of my government ever since the pandemic broke out. I hope the same cooperation will continue in the future to protect the people of this state," Yediyurappa concluded.
Inputs from Deccan Herald