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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Karnataka Government to pay for Mangaluru blast victim’s treatment

Recently, the Karnataka Government officials agreed to bear the cost of further treatment of autorickshaw driver Purushottam Poojari. He was injured in the terror attack using pressure cooker explosion, near Kankanady police station, in Mangaluru on November 19. Purushottam’s terrorist passenger, Mohammed Shariq (24), is recuperating well at Bengaluru’s Victoria Hospital. 

Back then, Police chief N Sasikumar said the reason behind the explosion was a bag carried by Shariq in the autorickshaw. Police found that an improvised explosive device (IED) inside a pressure cooker had exploded accidentally. Shariq had hired the autorickshaw, posing as a passenger.

DGP Karnataka confirmed that it was an act of terror to cause severe damage. A lesser-known Islamist terrorist outfit Islamic Resistance Council (IRC), claimed responsibility for the blast and noted that one of its ‘Mujahid brothers’ (Shariq) attempted to blow up a ‘Hindutva temple’ in Kadri.

Such is the state of affairs in ‘secular’ Bharat that the taxpayer bears for the expenses of treating a terrorist while the Hindu victim’s family has to beg and borrow to meet his hospital expenses. Had the local media not highlighted his plight, the government officials would have done nothing to help Purushottam. 

On December 2, Mangaluru Deputy Commissioner M R Ravikumar said the government would also reimburse the cost of treatment borne by the family. Until now, Purushottam’s hospital expenses were paid by his daughter Meghashree through her Employee State Insurance (ESI) coverage. The amount is being deducted from her ESI account.

Purushottam is admitted to Father Muller Hospital, a private hospital in Mangaluru. In a letter addressed to the hospital, Ravikumar said the family should not be burdened with the cost, but necessary treatment should not be stopped. He directed the hospital authorities not to coerce Purushottam’s family to settle the hospital bills.

Dakshina Kannada district administration issued an order which reads, “Purushottam’s treatment should be continued from the hospital without pressuring the family to pay the expenses. Hence, the amount paid through ESI will subsequently be paid by the government.”

Meanwhile, Mangaluru South legislator D Vedavyas Kamath said that the state government is waiting for some formalities. Once the process is completed, the amount will be released. He will be given an all-new auto rickshaw by retaining the old permit. On Wednesday, BJP leaders met him, his doctors, and family members.

Purushottam has to undergo treatment for another 15 to 20 days at the hospital for plastic surgery. This was when hospital authorities informed his family that further treatment would not come under the ESI scheme. It was then that Meghashree submitted a representation seeking help as the cost of other treatments cannot be covered under ESI.

Employees are entitled to claim ESI when they earn less than Rs. 21,000 per month; the ones who barely scrape through. Incidentally, when an insured person under ESI starts insurable employment, he and his family receive complete medical care. There is no limit on how much an insured person or a family member can spend on treatment.

ESI and its participation with private institutes have always remained controversial. More often than not, services are denied based on private players’ whims and fancies. The Christian conversion mafia has a history of preying on the weak and the vulnerable, especially when they are at their lowest.

Last month, Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra visited Purushottam, doctors, and his family in the hospital. He handed over ₹50,000, while district-in-charge minister V Sunil Kumar gave ₹25,000 to Purushottam’s family for his treatment. Incidentally, Araga represents the Thirthahalli assembly constituency in the Shivamogga district, where Shariq comes from.

Back then, the Dakshina Kannada district administration sent a proposal to the government seeking compensation for Purushottam. Araga, too assured of financial assistance from the government for Purushottam’s treatment. It now seems that help never materialized.

After the police found links between Shariq to terrorist organizations, the Karnataka Government decided to hand further investigation to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On December 17, Shariq was shifted to Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru for better treatment. He is responding well to the treatment, said the doctors. Dr. K T Ramesh, Head of Department, Plastic Surgery and Burns, Victoria Hospital, told The New Indian Express that Shariq’s burns heal well and may not require plastic surgery. 

Meanwhile, Gurubeladingalu Foundation, a Hindu organization, decided to renovate the house of auto driver Purushottam. His family now lives in a rundown place near Ujjodi where the walls and the old roofing tiles might collapse. Gurubeladingalu Foundation president Padmaraj R also visited Purushottam at the hospital.

When he met Purushottam last week, the latter expressed his pain that his house should be renovated as his daughter’s marriage will be held in May. Hence, the Gurubeladingaulu Foundation has taken up the responsibility for renovating the house. Padmaraj and the engineer visited Purushottam’s home and assured them that renovation would begin next month.

Let us hope they follow up better than the state administration. Islamist left-leaning liberal media is busy justifying Shariq and claiming victimization on behalf of the terrorist’s lady relatives. Had Meghashree been less tenacious, authorities would have brushed her father’s case under the carpet. For Hindu victims of terror attacks, even the fight for justice is a lonely battle in the only Hindu-majority nation.

Last week, Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar asked how Shariq could be declared a terrorist! He insinuated that the ruling BJP carried out the blast to divert people’s attention from an alleged voter ID scam. His statements came in the backdrop of the terrorist outfit Islamic Resistance Council warning that it will not fail next time.

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