At a time when the country is grappling with the world’s deadliest crisis, BJP leadership has found a way to paint the picture with a communal brush. BJP Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya has blamed Muslim frontline workers for what was actually an official discrepancy in the allotment of beds in Bengaluru.
On May 4, Tejasvi Surya called a press conference along with other local BJP leaders to expose “irregularities and anomalies” in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) bed booking process for COVID patients in the city. The South Bengaluru MP alleged the involvement of Muslim employees of a civic hospital.
Surya claimed that the BBMP website always shows that beds are not available for patients, but some agents and hospital authorities had been taking bribes to allot beds to patients from economically advantaged families.
Hours after the press conference, a video went viral on social media, wherein an angry Surya along with other BJP leaders could be seen yelling at medical officials at the BBMP War-Room in Bengaluru.
He deliberately chose to name only Muslim employees – Sixteen in strength of over 200. “Who are these people? Who hired them?” he asked a lady official in the War-Room. His uncle, MLA Ravi Subramanya said, “Is this a Madrasa?” whilst also shouting at officials in the War-Room.
The BBMP War-Room was set up in March 2020 by the state government in order to tackle the COVID crisis, allotting hospital beds to patients on an urgent basis. MP Tejasvi Surya did not explain why he named the 16 Muslim employees out of more than 200 staff members working at the same place. He has not been able to provide any evidence of Muslim workers’ role in any corruption at the BBMP War-Room.
On the basis of the BJP leader’s allegations, the police booked all 16 workers for questioning however, released all of them within hours as they did not find proof of wrongdoing against them.
According to the Indian Express, four people – Dr. Rihan , Dr. Shashi, Rohit Kumar, and Netravati – have been arrested in this case.
This is not the first time the former chief of the BJP Yuva Morcha has slandered the Muslim community. During the pro-NRC protests in Bengaluru, he was quoted saying that only “illiterates and Puncture-Wallahs” were opposing this law. Moreover, soon after his candidacy from South Bengaluru was announced, Surya became an internet sensation when he remarked, “if you are with Modi, you are with India, if you are not with Modi, you are anti-India.”
The Karnataka High Court, on Saturday, dismissed a plea against Surya by Congress leader YB Srivatsa saying it was “politically motivated”. The court has however ordered a probe to investigate the scam.