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The plea also raises concern over attacks on health workers amid the COVID-19 crisis, adding that if proper "Armed forces are not deployed in the Coronavirus hotspot areas of India, there will be more attacks."
A Mumbai-based social activist has moved the Supreme Court for the deployment of armed forces in every state across India in order to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown properly.
The plea has been moved keeping in view reported “attacks on healthcare workers” as well as “religious” and “other gatherings due to fake news” across the country amid the lockdown.
The plea filed through Advocate-on-Record Om Prakash Parihar and Advocate Dushyant Tiwari, points out that "these gatherings were allowed to be mobilized when COVID-19 cases have been rapidly increasing across India", including in States that have the highest number of COVID-19 cases.
In this regard, the petition also highlights recent incidents such as the gathering of migrant workers in Mumbai after phase 2 of the lockdown was announced and the wedding of the son of the former Karnataka Chief Minister.
“A huge gathering in Mumbai on April 14 was due to a fake news spread by a news channel and also by a few self proclaimed activists. It seems all these gatherings are well hatched plan orchestrated to sabotage lockdown plan by few anti-social elements. These people gathered without any luggage knowing well that there was no transportation for them to go to their native places,” says the plea.
Another issue taken note of concerns attacks on health care workers across India. The plea states that the workers, after being attacked, are “either leaving their jobs or going for strike because of the attacks on them." Therefore, it is contended that "special forces protection is required for the health sector people while going to test COVID-19 patients."
The plea states that it is not only the mob but also individuals who are "supporting the spread of coronavirus' despite knowing the harmful effect of the virus." On this issue, reference is made to a recent marriage function hosted by former Karnataka Chief Minister, HD Kumaraswamy, for his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.
Further on April 17, when Karnataka registered the highest spike in coronavirus cases, a religious event in Kalburgi, Karnataka was also arranged, where the lockdown was "openly defied", the petitioner adds.
The petitioner goes on to state that these examples prove that the state police is not capable of stopping people from gathering at one place. Therefore, it is essential to deploy special armed forces in each state in order to stop such incidents from occurring again.
The petition also speaks of upcoming religious festivities this month, and how army deployment in COVID-19 hotspots could prevent attacks on healthcare workers.
"There are apprehensions that in this month again one religious community festival is coming and if proper Armed forces is not deployed in the Coronavirus hotspot areas of India, so there will be chances of more attacks on hospital sector people, social workers, police etc and this might lead to communal clashes etc which is not a good sign for controlling the spread of Coronavirus in India (sic)."
says the plea.
The petitioner has additionally sought directions so that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and National Investigative Agency (NIA) can investigate gatherings of people in India during this time.