MANGALURU: Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya, a physician and expert on public health, was booked under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act after a video, in which he was not wearing a mask at a supermarket and even refusing to do so when asked by the shop owner, went viral evoking strong criticism on social media.
Kakkilaya, a strong critic of many policies of the Centre especially with regard to COVID-19 management, was at Jimmy’s Supermarket in Kadri on Tuesday without a mask. When he approached the cash counter, Ryan Rosario, a partner of the supermarket, asked him to wear a mask but Kakkilaya refused to do so. An argument broke out between Ryan and Kakkilaya in front of other customers.
Ryan is heard reminding the doctor about the government rules and even offered him a mask in case he doesn’t have one. Still, Kakkilaya refused to obey the rule. The incident was captured on the CCTV of the supermarket and was widely circulated on social media on Wednesday evoking strong reaction from the public towards the doctor’s behaviour with some of them even demanding his arrest.
Meanwhile, Ryan lodged a complaint with the Mangaluru East (Kadri) police station on Wednesday seeking action against Kakkilaya. In his complaint, Ryan said Dr Kakkilaya by not wearing mask was putting the lives of supermarket staff and other customers at risk. He said Kakkilaya told him that he even treats his patients without masks and termed the mask rule as ‘foolish’.
Kakkilaya has on several occasions in the past said that wearing masks is not necessary unless a person has COVID-19 symptoms and was also against the lockdown stating that it will have an adverse impact.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Mangaluru branch, issued a statement strongly condemning Kakkilaya for his ‘misleading action’ and ‘irresponsible statement’. It said the IMA stands by the government guidelines and endorses the wearing of masks by everyone in public places. Kadri police have booked Kakkilaya under Sections 4, 4 and 9 of Karnakata Epidemic Act 2020.