Confusion in Bengaluru as govt revises Sec 144 orders

Section 144 in Bengaluru from 12 pm: Confusion prevails after Karnataka government's late-night order

While police have allowed pubs, restaurants to function till 11 pm, prohibitory orders have been put in place since 12 noon

Commercial Street is lit up with colourful lights for New Year celebrations in Bengaluru on Wednesday. DH Photo/Pushkar V

After triggering confusion over the imposition of Night Curfew across Karnataka, the state government yet again created confusion on Thursday by ordering prohibitory orders starting from Thursday noon. The overnight orders by the Bengaluru City Police Commissioner have left several people fuming at the state government on frequent changes in its decisions leading to confusion among public.

While the Bengaluru City Police attributed to the sudden change in the duration of prohibitory orders to Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai. “We only did what we were asked to do by the Home Minister,” said a senior officer of Bengaluru City Police. Clarifying on the issue, Kamal Pant, Commissioner of Police said, "The prohibitory orders are only targeting celebration in public places. Establishments such as pubs and restaurants can function according to their licence condition."

Read | Cops revise prohibitory timings in Bengaluru: Section 144 from 12 pm

Acknowledging the same Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, “Prohibitory rules does not come under my department and handled by the Home Department. I have only given suggestions to the Home minister. Our Home minister is senior-most and has enough experience to decide on that and he will accordingly discuss with the CM.” However, the Health minister defended the government’s frequent U-turn in its decision and claimed it was in the interest of public safety. “Sudden changes in the decision do not mean there is no coordination but it is only in the interest of the public safety,” he clarified.

In the meantime, Police Commissioner’s order on prohibitory orders on revising the duration of prohibitory orders has met with intense criticism from the hotel and restaurant industry sector. “On the one hand police allow restaurants, pubs to function till 11:00 pm and on the other, they will invoke prohibitory orders from 12 noon. How will people come to restaurants if there are prohibitory orders? The state government could have ordered complete lock-down rather than introducing this kind of confusing orders,” explained a manager with one of the leading pubs on Church Street.

Fuelling the prevailing confusion over the night curfew in the state, Dr Sudhakar said, “The Night Curfew was withdrawn because of the opposition leaders’ protest. Based on the recommendations of the Covid Technical advisory committee experts, I had suggested CM to impose Night Curfew. Revenue minister R Ashoka has also spoken on the same lines. We were for it, but opposition criticised it.”