BENGALURU: As the Karnataka Congress’ 10-day Mekedatu padayatra entered its fourth day on Wednesday, a third first information report (FIR) has been lodged against party leaders for holding the march in violation of Covid-19 restrictions imposed in the state.
Police have registered the FIR against 68 Congress leaders, including former chief minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC president D K Shivakumar, KPCC working presidents R Dhruvanarayana, Saleem Ahmed and Eshwar Khandre and former ministers H C Mahadevappa, Tanveer Sait and Priyank Kharge.
The first FIR in the case was registered on January 9, the first day of the padayatra, in which 30 people were named for flouting Covid-19 norms. On Tuesday, 40 more people were named in the second FIR. Cases have been registered under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act and various sections of the IPC. Despite the FIRs, Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah continued with their padayatra on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah hit out at the government for criticising the Congress over the padayatra. “The State Government is biased. BJP leaders are violating Covid rules. Why isn’t the government taking action against them? Have they filed FIRs against them? The government is filing cases against us to scare us,” he said, taking a dig at BJP MLAs M P Renukacharya and Subhash Guttedar for taking part in rallies.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the Congress leaders should stop the padayatra and apologise to the people for violating Covid norms. “Our initial apprehensions over the padayatra are unfortunately coming true,” he said.