Media reports have indicated that political pressure was exerted by YSRCP MLA Mr. Hafeez Khan who prevented the dist. administration from shifting Tablighi Jamaat Markaz returnees to quarantine centres and instead treat them at a private nursing home jeopardising thousands of lives.
A legal watchdog Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) has filed a complaint with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Health Ministry to investigate the cause of sudden rise in COVID19 cases in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. The rise in COVID19 cases has jeopardized the lives of lakhs of people of the district which is now attributed to political interference and minority appeasement.
What does the complaint say?
The LRO complaint says that administration of Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh has been acting in a very lackadaisical manner ignoring all warning signs and often succumbing to pressure from various quarters. It quotes news reports from various local media channels where it was reported that both the administration and police of Kurnool did not implement the lockdown strictly leading to the sudden rise in the infections in the district.
The district administration handled COVID19 cases as normal chest/lung infection cases and the affected persons were placed in general chest disease ward. Further when reports of presence of strangers in a place of worship was noticed by locals and the same was reported to District Administration, the administration filed criminal cases against those who shared the videos about the presence of strangers and their forced evacuation.
Political Interference and Minority Appeasement by YSRCP MLA
LRO's complaint highlights the massive political interference which led to huge increase in Covid-19 positive cases in the district leading to the district becoming a Red Zone. This is based on a news report of a reputed Telugu news daily, Andhra Jyothi from its April 19th, 2020 edition. 4.The newspaper report cited above mentions functioning of a private nursing home/ hospital within the red zone. The nursing home was very popular and well established one with huge number of people turning up daily for various ailments. The founder of the nursing home Dr. Ismail Hussain passed away on 14th April, in Kurnool. According to media reports, Six (6) members of his family, including his wife and son, have tested positive for COVID-19, and are under quarantine.
A notification was published on 16-04-2020 by District administration mentioned that “A Person in K M Hospital, Kurnool has tested positive for Corona”. The notification called upon all those people who have visited the said hospital between 20th March, 2020 and 16th April, 2020 should immediate call or SMS the number mentioned in the said notification so that the administration can arrange for medical check-up for such people. It also cautioned the visitors to the hospital to practice self-quarantine, not to touch or go near others. The said notification was marked for wide publicity amongst print/electronic media.
Media reports say that apart from Kurnool district, patients/visitors from adjacent Gadwal district in the state of Telangana have visited the hospital and that their number could be in the hundreds. It is a mystery as to how a private nursing home was allowed to function and allowed outpatient services, says the LRO's complaint.
Quarantine rules broken for Tablighi Jamaat Markaz returnees
LRO cites media reports which have indicated that political pressure was exerted by the local town MLA Mr. Hafeez Khan of YSRCP and others to turn a blind eye to the functioning of the hospital. Media reports also indicate enormous political pressure exerted by local MLA Mr. Hafeez Khan who also belongs to the same religion as those who attended Tabligh Jamaat, New Delhi. Reports say that he prevented officials from shifting identified Tablighi Jamaat Markaz returnees to quarantine centres. The said MLA also went to the quarantine centre and spent time with the inmates.
LRO's complaint, says that as per media reports the YSRCP MLA also prevented testing of several people who have attended the Delhi Markaz Event. A video report by ABN Andhra Jyothi has mentioned that the private hospital referred to above has secretly treated the Tablighi Jamaat attendees at the instance of the said local MLA. The number of people who have attended the private hospital during the relevant dates is estimated at around 4,000 including from the adjacent districts of Gadwal in Telangana state.
Such actions have led to the entire town being declared as red zone and the district topping the charts in Covid-19 cases in the state of AP. LRO complaint says that only when situation snowballed out of control and an avalanche of Covid-19 cases started coming up, district administration woke up and started taking measure to control the epidemic. As per the complaint, the said MLA even then has visited quarantine centres and spent time with the inmates there.
The LRO's complaint alleges that 'The above sequence of events has put thousands of lives of ordinary citizens of India at risk both in the states of AP and adjacent Telangana. District administration is not transparent in its interaction with public and is succumbing to political pressure and Minority Appeasement.'
Given these reasons, LRO requests MHA to order an Immediate Enquiry by a high-power team of Central Government Officials into the massive outbreak of COVID-19 in Kurnool District and take necessary action to punish the culprits.
REFERENCES: Links to various media report from Print and Electronic Media Reports refered in the LRO's complaint to MHA-