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BBMP wades into row by dropping Mercy Angels from Kempegowda Award list

Last Updated : 10 September 2020, 17:52 IST
Last Updated : 10 September 2020, 17:52 IST

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Honouring Dr Taha Mateen of 'Mercy Angels' with Kempegowda Award in recognition of the efforts to ensure dignified last rites for persons who died from Covid-19, the BBMP has blundered by removing him from the list of awardees.

Mercy Angels volunteers were instrumental in providing dignified burials for bodies of Covid-19 victims whose families did not come forward to conduct last rites.

The BBMP presented 33 persons with the award and Dr Taha Mateen was among them. The list of awardees released to the media in the morning had Dr Mateen's name. But by evening, the name had disappeared.

A row erupted after BBMP opposition leader Abdul Wajid took up the issue. "The mayor dropped Dr Mateen's name at the behest of the RSS," he said.

Mayor M Goutham Kumar, however, said there was a different reason. "The list of awardees I signed didn't have the name of Mercy Angels' Taha Mateen. As the Kempegowda Award can't be given to non-governmental organisations, the name was dropped," he said.

However, Wajid said that of the 32 people who got the award only 32 were Covid-19 warriors. It is condemnable that RSS functionaries have been awarded by considering them as activists from different spheres. The award carries a purse of Rs 50,000.

Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, who spoke after the award ceremony, said as per the practice, the BBMP has honoured achievers from various spheres. "This year, it was decided to honour people who involved themselves in different streams to fight COVID," he said.

Responding to the allegation that people with links to RSS were getting awards, he said, "There is no rule against awarding those in RSS. Whoever contributes to social welfare and those who achieve should be honoured. We have done that," he said.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he would look into the claim that Nandidurga Balu Gowda was given the Award for the second time. "I didn't know about this. I will look into it," he said.

The list of achievers included Dr Aseema Banu, who had set up the dedicated Covid ward, Dr Meena Ganesh, Dr Naveen Benakappa and Dr Venkatesh Murthy for championing the cause of home isolation, Tasleem Arif Syed from the biotechnology field, Nitin Kamath and several others. The celebration, scheduled to be held last week, was deferred following the death of former President Pranab Mukherjee.

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Published 10 September 2020, 17:52 IST

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