The Karnataka government is all set to arm itself with a modified epidemic act that is aimed at reining in perpetrators of mob crime while dealing with any pandemic. The state Cabinet, on Monday, decided to promulgate an Ordinance that gives the government special powers to provide protection to the
frontline health workers. The Ordinance has been sent to the Governor for his assent. This decision came in the wake of the Padarayanapura incident where the mob went berserk, ransacking the police station, destroying public property apart from injuring cops and BBMP health workers who were simply carrying out the orders to quarantine 56 primary corona contacts.
Broadly based on the Kerala model, the Karnataka Ordinance allows imposition of restrictions on
essential services; violators to be jailed for a maximum two years and levied with Rs 10,000 fine, among
other stringent provisions. The Karnataka government has added more teeth to the Ordinance by adopting the Uttar Pradesh model of recovering double the money from the rampaging mob. “In addition to this, Karnataka will be the first state to recover and hand over money to private persons who have lost property from such elements.
The Ordinance empowers Deputy Commissioners who are also District Magistrates to attach properties of such persons who are involved in rioting,’’ said a highly placed source. Once the Governor stamps his approval, the state government will notify the Ordinance. “We are expecting the Ordinance to be approved by the Hon. Governor Vajjubai Vala in a day or two, unless he has any reservations against
certain portions. But this Ordinance was long overdue. With so many cases of abuse and attack on frontline workers during these trying times, it will send a strong signal to all anti-social elements who have ulterior motives,’’ he said.