Complaints about a caste-based vaccination drive has surfaced from Bengaluru's Malleshwaram, organised by Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan. The Opposition Congress and local residents allege that people were denied vaccination on the basis of caste.
Temple priests, who were not listed as a priority group by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), were given the shot at Government Women's College in Malleswaram.
According to a report by The News Minute, three people filed a complaint at the Malleshwaram Police Station claiming that they were denied the vaccination on the basis of their caste but no FIR was lodged. "I went to the vaccine centre but I was not allowed inside. There is no issue with the police but BJP workers were taking people inside and ensuring vaccination of the temple priests. We were standing in line and continued to remain there with no one calling us inside. When we asked about this, we were questioned about our caste," said one of the complainants.
Congress leader BK Hariprasad, referring to the vaccination of temple priests on May 31, also claimed that there was caste-based preferential treatment being meted out during vaccination.
However, Deputy CM Narayan refuted the accusations and said, "Vaccines were given to frontline workers, priority groups and those who were taking care of them. According to the guidelines by the government, vaccination was given to whoever came. Every single persons' Aadhaar number was written down and a vaccine was given. Moreover, Hariprasad must understand that caste is not mentioned on the Aadhaar card."
He also added that more than 1000 slum dwellers had been vaccinated. Another official in the Deputy Chief Minister's office stated that the vaccination was for senior citizens and caretakers, and priests were vaccinated under that category.
In Bengaluru, the vaccination drive has been mired in controversies. Last week, reports about Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya allegedly registering people for a paid COVID-19 vaccination drive, surfaced. CV Raman Nagar MLA Raghu allegedly diverted government vaccine supply for running a vaccination camp.