In few districts of Karnataka, a bizzare story is doing the rounds. According to reliable resources, Muslim fundamentalists who are against the administration of polio drops to their children hatched a conspiracy to bring a bad name to the BJP government in Karnataka. December 21, Sunday, was the Polio Vaccination Day and as usual both government and health volunteers convinced the parents of small children about the importance of polio vaccination through publicity and personal visits. This campaign proved a huge successful as large number of parents brought their children to the nearest health centre and polio drops were administered to their kids. The success of the polio campaign irked the Muslim fundamentalists and they staged a high drama to prevent further success of this campaign and to teach a lesson to the section of the Muslim community who ignored their unofficial order not to participate in the polio campaign.
The drama started at around 10.30 pm on December 21 with rumours of merciless killings of Muslim babies by administering the ?spurious drugs? instead of polio drops. These baseless rumours spread like a wildfire in Anekal near Bengaluru, Goripalya, Padarayanpuru, Subedharpalya, RT Nagar and other Muslim-dominated areas of Bengaluru. Soon government hospitals and private nursing homes were flooded with anxious parents to get their children examined for any health disorder. The midnight madness triggered by a few rumour-mongers about kids falling sick after being administered polio drops created a war-like situation. Chaos spread in South Bengaluru as parents rushed to hospitals with their sleeping children. Private and government hospitals including Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Sagar and AV hospitals not only catered to residents from JP Nagar, Chamarajpet, Jayanagar but also provided respite to people who had travelled from Frazer Town and RT Nagar. Other hospitals like Vanivillas Hospital, Ambedkar Medical College, KC General Hospital, Yellamma Dasappa Hospital, Bowring Hospital and Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital witnessed a huge gathering of Muslim parents with large number of small children with them.
The worst thing happened at 12.30 am on December 22 when mosques started making announcements through loudspeakers to take their children to the nearest hospitals. This not only triggered a panic but also spread the rumours of killing of children. Muslim community went door-to-door to wake up parents who were fast asleep and asked them to rush to the hospitals. One such parents told Organiser that soon after the public announcements made in the mosque, Muslim youths started knocking the doors of all the residents and asked them to bundle into the vehicles they have arranged for taking them to the hospitals. The drivers of these hired vehicles created another blunder. The drivers started telling the parents that they have already made several trips to the hospitals by carrying many parents with their children and already 50-60 children have died en route to hospital. Soon all the roads leading to hospitals were blocked and commotion started. In the exchange of heated arguments with doctors and nurses who were working overtime, miscreants started breaking the window panes and hurling stones at most of the hospitals. Owing to this melee, furniture of the hospitals and expensive medical equipments were damaged. Even ambulances and doctors? cars, which were parked in the hospital premises, were also not spared in the melee. Police could not get tough with the miscreants because of the presence of women and children around the hospitals. Soon the mass hysteria spread to Mysore, Chikmagalur and Kolar districts and arson and assault on doctors continued in these districts too.
Chief Minister Dr. BS Yeddyurappa held an urgent meeting of senior health officers to take necessary steps to ease the situation and appealed to the public to remain calm and not to pay attention to any rumours. However, parents of nearly two lakh kids in different districts refused to accept polio drops supplied by the government on December 22. Usual practice is that kids who miss the polio campaign are administered polio drops on the next few days by health volunteers through door-to-door campaign.