K'taka Bed Scam: Cong backs 17 Muslims named by Tejasvi

Karnataka bed-blocking scam: Congress backs 17 Muslims named by BJP MP Tejasvi Surya

D K Shivakumar came down heavily on Surya for giving the issue a ‘communal’ tag

Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar. Credit: DH Photo

The D K Shivakumar-led Congress on Thursday came out in full support of the 17 Muslims whose names BJP Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya made public during his expose of the alleged bed-blocking scam in the city. 

Shivakumar, the Karnataka Congress president, came down heavily on Surya for giving the issue a ‘communal’ tag. The 17 Muslims named by Surya work are among 205 employees of the BBMP south Covid-19 war room.

“Muslims are my brothers. We live and die together. This is India. If (Muslims) don’t cut meat, none can eat. If they don’t fix tyre punctures, repair cycles, or do mechanic work, no vehicles will run. Is anyone from Tejasvi Surya’s house a mechanic?” Shivakumar asked, daring the BJP to “throw Muslims out of India if they had the guts”. 

Also read — Congress demands arrest of Tejasvi Surya, BJP MLA Sathish Reddy over bed scam

According to Shivakumar, it was the BJP workers and legislators who were blocking Covid-19 beds in the city. “I’ve done my own exercise. Let’s see who gets caught,” he said, demanding the arrest of "everyone who tried to make this communal, including the MP."

Meanwhile, Chamarajpet legislator BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan said he would employ the 17 Muslims if they got fired. “Right now, they’ve been issued notices. If they lose their jobs, I will employ them. I’ll give them Rs 15,000 instead of Rs 13,000 they’re getting now,” Khan said at a news conference where some of the 17 Muslims were present. 

Also read — Never tried to communalise bed-blocking scam, says Tejasvi Surya

“Look at these innocent people. They were made to go to the police station during this holy month of Ramzan. Surya, will God forgive you?” an angry Khan said.

Citing news reports, Khan said it was BJP Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy’s aide Harish who was involved in the bed-blocking scam. He added that Surya raked up the scam to divert attention from the death of 24 patients at Chamarajanagar for want of oxygen. 

Senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy, who represents BTM Layout, shot off a letter to BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta asking why the civic body was acting against the 17 people without any inquiry. “What about the other 188 people? Are they innocent?” Reddy asked Gupta to investigate allegations that BJP leaders were getting beds blocked.