Aimed at curtailing mobilisation of people from various districts for Congress' ongoing padayatra, the Karnataka government on Wednesday prohibited inter district and intra district (within Ramanagara), movement of vehicles and persons for participating in it, with immediate effect.
"...all, inter district (within Karnataka) and intra district (within Ramanagara), movement of vehicles and persons for participating in 'Nama Neeru Namma Hakku' padayatra or whichever name it is called with similar purpose from Mekedatu to Bengaluru is prohibited with immediate effect and will be in force until further orders," the government's order said.
It said, despite the explicit order of banning dharnas and protests vide orders on January 4 and 11 which is in force until January 31, it is observed that certain groups of people have organized and mobilized people from various districts to Ramanagara district to participate in the padayatra, defying government orders.
The act of defiance is endangering the lives of a large number of people, it further said, adding that the padayatra is likely to aggravate the already worsening COVID-19 situation in the State. Any person violating these measures will be liable under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, besides legal action under Sections of the IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.
The order has come on a day, when the Karnataka High Court questioned the state government as to why it allowed the Congress' padayatra, which is being held in violation of its COVID curbs, and why no appropriate action was taken by the authorities to restrain the march. It has also asked the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) whether it had obtained permission for the padayatra and whether measures have been taken in compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the government to prevent the COVID-19 spread.
The court has asked both the state government as well as the Congress to respond by Friday. The Congress' 10-day long padayatra demanding implementation of Mekedatu project, to which neighbouring Tamil Nadu is opposed, continued for the fourth day on Wednesday for a distance of about 15 km from Chikkenahalli to Ramanagara, with participation of hundreds of party workers and supporters.
The padayatra that began on January 9, spanning a distance of nearly 139 km, is scheduled to conclude at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on January 19. Police have already filed three FIRs against Congress leaders including its state president D K Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah, for taking out the march defying COVID-19 curbs.
With inputs from PTI.