Karnataka health minister draws flak for violating social distancing norms

Bengaluru, Jun 2 (PTI) Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu has come under criticism for allegedly violating social distancing and lockdown norms by participating in a procession in Chitradurga district on Tuesday in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to party sources, the procession was organised by supporters to felicitate Sriramulu, who is district in-charge Minister of Chitradurga for ensuring flow of water to Vedavathi river from Vani Vilasa reservoir.

The minister was in the district to offer pooja to the river, they said.

In the visuals of the procession shown on local TV channels, flowers were showered on Sriramulu who was on a bullock cart and a mammoth garland made of apples presented to him using a crane.

Siramulu can be seen waving at the large gathering shouting slogans in his praise.

Most people standing in close proximity to the Minister can be seen not wearing masks.

Also large number of people had gathered at the place not following social distancing.

Sriramulu's action has drawn flak, with several people on social media hitting out at the minister for not following what he preaches.

Many have accused the minister of violating social distancing norms and also lockdown restrictions as social and political gatherings are prohibited as per the guidelines.

The Congress in Karnataka questioned Sriramulu, asking whether the central and state government guidelines were not applicable to him.

It tweeted that his 'irresponsible behaviour' was sending a wrong message to people.

After coming to know about the widespread criticism, Sriramulu, later addressing the gathering, can be heard requesting people to follow social distancing and wear masks.

'There are reports in the media that people have gathered here in large number and no one is wearing mask.

I request you to maintain social distancing to be safe from corona..we can't stop you, you people are strong and move ahead of us (during procession), you don't listen to us...listen to PM and CM and follow social distancing and wear masks,' he can be heard saying.

'Such public meetings are not allowed, but looking at you we got emotionalas you people will take me wrong if I don't talk to you..I'm cancelling my other programmes and going back,' he added.

Earlier too, Sriramulu had been accused of violating social distancing during supply of ration kits and meetings.