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FIR against ex-IAS officer K. Gopinathan, Prashant Bhushan for tweets on govt’s Covid response




Prashant Bhushan (L) and Kannan Gopinathan (R) | Twitter
Prashant Bhushan (L) and Kannan Gopinathan (R) | Twitter

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New Delhi: The Gujarat Police has filed an FIR against eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan for intending to outrage reli­gious feelings, causing fear or alarm in the public and criminal conspiracy on the basis of a tweet.

According to the FIR, a copy of which has been seen by ThePrint, the FIR has been lodged under Section 295 A, 505 (1) B, 34, 120 B of the Indian Penal Code for a tweet by Gopinath, which was retweeted by Bhushan.

“Dear PM @narendramodi, if you are unable to sack @amitshah because you are afraid of him, then that’s ok. But then try and adjust him in some lighter ministry like I&B.

@PrakashJavdekar could do with some help,” Gopinathan said in his tweet dated 30 March.


The FIR against Bhushan came on the basis of a tweet dated 28 March in which the lawyer said, “As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!”


Bhushan was reacting to a tweet by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar in which he was seen watching Ramayan on Doordarshan at the time of the Covid pandemic.

Also read: Modi govt asks ‘disillusioned’ IAS officer to rejoin amid Covid-19 crisis, he calls it petty

Could cause fear and alarm among the public’

On the basis of the tweets, a retired army officer complained to the police saying that Gopinathan’s tweet could cause fear and alarm among the public and disturb public tranquility such that individuals would be encouraged to act against the State.

Referring to both Gopinathan and Bhushan, the complainant said that “the offenders and their accomplices, as a part of their conspiracies and common intention have made blatantly false assertions on Twitter with a clear intention to disrupt the unified national challenged spearheaded by the Honorable Prime Minister against the pandemic.”

For Bhushan, the complainant argued that by using the word “opium” for Ramayana and Mahabharata, he had sought to malign the religion, and his “ulterior motives” needed to be unearthed.

“The offender by bringing in the religion and using such a derogatory and slanderous word for pious religious scripture is not only unacceptable and unwarranted but also illegal and seemingly driven by some ulterior motives,” the complainant said.

Both Bhushan and Gopinathan did not respond to calls by ThePrint when contacted for a response.

Also read: Modi govt proposes inquiry against IAS officer 2 months after he quit over Article 370


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




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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