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T M Krishna, others help raise Rs 32 lakh for artists struggling amid Covid-19 outbreak

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New Delhi: Carnatic vocalist and author T.M. Krishna along with few others have raised around Rs 32 lakh to be distributed among 919 artists who are battling loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a post shared on Twitter Thursday, Krishna said, “With all your support we have been able to disburse ₹31,90,900 to 919 artists. There are so many more artists on the margins who need our support. Please do donate generously and share the details of what we have been able to collectively do.”

Called the Covid-19 Artists Fund, it supports makeup artists, bharatnatyam dancers, instrument makers, light and sound technicians, and members of regional theatre. Artists who play the veena or other such musical instruments as well as folk dancers will also be supported via this fund.

The initiative is both crowdfunded and supported by the Sumanasa Foundation (a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2004 to provide aid and support to talented young students in underdeveloped rural areas) and the Bhuvana Foundation (an outfit dedicated to uplifting the underserved and disadvantaged children and families of India).

The artists fund has about 680 donors and supports all women and men, including those from the LGBTQIA community.


Also read: TM Krishna’s book celebrating Dalit Christian mrdangam makers triggers row in Tamil Nadu


Other initiatives

Several other artists have similarly hosted online shows to help fund the Covid-19 fight in India.

On 11-12 April, comedian Tanmay Bhat hosted Stay Home for India, a two-day live marathon event on his YouTube channel, which featured over 80 artists. Noted comedians such as Biswa Kalyan Rath, Kanan Gill, Kenny Sebastian, Varun Grover, Zakir Khan, Sumukhi Suresh and Mallika Dua took part in the event, along with social media influencers Kusha Kapila and Dolly Singh, and sports host Gaurav Kapur.

The two-day comedy marathon, which raised over Rs 17 lakh, featured games such as dumb charades, roasts, PUBG, and general knowledge quizzes. The proceeds from the event were donated to buy equipment for frontline health workers and help marginalised communities.

The Covid-19 lockdown was extended to 3 May by Prime Minister Narendra Modi due to a surge in cases. The pandemic has so far infected more than 16,000 people in India and killed over 680.


Also read: TM Krishna promises 1 Allah, Jesus song a month after Hindu group attacks Carnatic singers


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India

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

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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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