Lockdown: Closure of Karnataka-Kerala Border Creates Humanitarian Crisis, Causes Death of Patients, Passengers Stranded
NEW DELHI, MARCH 31—A grave humanitarian crisis has developed in Kerala after the closure of Kerala-Karnataka border by the Karnataka government with a view to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Karnataka has closed its borders with Kerala on March 22 as also with five other neighbouring states including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Goa.
A large number of people are also stranded on the Kerala-Karnataka border as blockade as blockade has affected inter-state traffic movement.
Two persons died and a woman delivered a baby girl on Karnataka-Kerala border after it was closed denying entry of all vehicles, including ambulances following lockdown.
A 70-year old woman, Pathumi, who was denied entry into Karnataka even for urgent medical treatment available at the medical hub of Mangaluru in Karnataka, died on the border near Thapapady on March 29 . She was staying with her granddaughter at Udyavar village in Manjeswar Block near Kerala-Karnataka border, as she was unable to go back to her village due to lockdown.
On March 26, Abdul Hameed, an asthama patient from Thaminadu near Thalapady in Kerala, lost his life after the Karnataka police refused entry to the ambulance to go to a Mangaluru hospital. On March 27, wife of a labourer from Bihar delivered her baby in an ambulance after Karnataka police denied her entry into a Karnataka hospital.
The Karnataka border is closed at 21 places. Dakshina Kannada district administration has sealed the Karnataka-Kerala borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 cases. In many places soil has been dumped across the road to prevent the movement of vehicles.
The blockade has also stopped inter-state traffic, including those of vegetables and essential supplies, resulting in a pile-up of at least 150 fully laden trucks bound for the Kerala state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also written to Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to lift the blockade.
Member of Parliament from Kasaragod, Rajmohan Unnithan, has also demanded urgent opening of the sealed Karnataka-Kerala border to give passage to ambulances and transport of essential supplies. He has made a special request to Chief Justice of India S. A. Bobde for urgent hearing on his petition and direction to Karnataka government to open its border with Kerala “to allow movement of ambulances and other emergency vehicles for the treatment of patients and for the transport of essential and non-essential items to Kerala”.
In his petition, the MP has pleaded that “imposition of such a blockade at a time when supply of commodities is itself hit hard and when a medical emergency has plagued the entire country, is a clear violation of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 and right to free movement guaranteed under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution”.
He requested the Supreme Court to direct Karnataka government to forthwith lift the blockade as “there are serious doubts about the constitutional validity of the blockade imposed by Karnataka and which would result in a grave humanitarian crisis in the Kerala".
(This article has been contributed by Syed Ali Ahmed)