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Social distancing for guests, none at mandap — Kumaraswamy son wedding fails Covid-19 test

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Former PM H.D. Deve Gowda and his wife bless the couple, while the parents watch on | Kumaraswamy family
Former PM H.D. Deve Gowda and his wife bless the couple, while the parents look on | Photo: Kumaraswamy family


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Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s son actor son Nikhil got married Friday morning at Ramanagara, 50 km from Bengaluru, amid the nationwide lockdown and calls for social distancing to check the spread of Covid-19.  

The wedding, held at the family farmhouse, was attended by fewer than 100 guests. A close associate of the family told ThePrint that they ensured everyone maintained the mandated distance of 1-metre throughout the ceremony. The family also made sure the prescribed sanitisation procedure was followed, the associate added.

But videos and photographs released by the family after the wedding showed a stark contrast between the two areas of activity at the venue — one where relatives were seated and the other where the marriage was solemnised.

The couple at the mandap | Photo: Kumaraswamy family
The couple at the mandap | Photo: Kumaraswamy family
Guests, seated at a distance from each other, watch the wedding on a giant screen | Screenshot from video released by Kumaraswamy family
Guests, seated at a distance from each other, watch the wedding on a giant screen | Screenshot from video released by Kumaraswamy family

Guests and relatives were seen seated at a distance of two to three metres from each other, watching the wedding proceedings on a live screen, even though some were seen without masks. The protocol, meanwhile, was completely violated at the mandap, or the area where the rituals were performed, as the family huddled close to the groom and bride. 

The family members, who were the only people allowed inside the mandap, neither wore masks nor maintained distance. This included former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, 86, Nikhil’s grandfather, and his wife. 

The photographs sparked outrage online because the wedding was only allowed on the condition that it would be conducted in adherence to certain norms mandated for Covid-19 prevention.

A senior police officer in charge of Ramanagara said the wedding was conducted with the permission of the local deputy commissioner, adding that police ensured that guests did not violate the lockdown rules. 

“We were given the registration numbers of the cars that would be arriving at the venue. This is only the immediate family members,” the officer said. “Forty-two cars were allowed and not more than 100 people were allowed at the wedding venue.” 

Asked about the family seemingly violating protocol during the rituals, the officer said police did not go inside as it “was their private affair”.

“It’s their responsibility to ensure safety during this time,” the officer said. 


Also Read: This ‘Venetian’ reason could be behind PM Modi’s decision to extend lockdown by 19 days


8 conditions for ceremony

Actor-turned-politician Nikhil got engaged to Revathi, the grandniece of senior Congress leader M. Krishnappa, in February. A big-ticket wedding was scheduled for 17 April, but the Covid-19 pandemic cast a shadow over the family’s plans.

Since the family didn’t want to postpone the “auspicious date”, Kumaraswamy sought special permission from the state’s B.S. Yediyurappa government.

On 22 March, the administration allowed closed-door weddings with a gathering of fewer than 100 guests while stressing that all Covid-19 protocol be followed. Several weddings have since taken place in accordance with the guidelines. 

The permission letter issued by Ramanagara deputy commissioner Dr Rajendra listed eight conditions, including that the family observe all “restrictions and precautionary measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19” and that “all participants must wear a mask”.

In a media briefing a day before the wedding, Kumaraswamy had said there would be thorough screening of guests, a sanitisation process would be followed, and the guests would be wearing masks and gloves. 


Also Read: No matter how you look at it, India’s lockdown-2 can cost as many lives as it will save


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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