Karnataka Forest Minister Umesh Katti does U-turn day after questioning COVID mask rule

While trying to retract from his earlier statement, Katti said that as a person holding a responsible position in the State Government, he was completely aware of his responsibility.

Published: 20th January 2022 12:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th January 2022 04:28 AM   |  A+A-

Karnataka Civil Supplies minister Umesh Katti

Karnataka Forest Minister Umesh Katti (File photo| EPS)

By Express News Service

BELAGAVI: A day after creating controversy stating that the people need not wear the masks compulsorily and that it is left to the people to decide whether they should wear a mask, Forest Minister Umesh Katti made a U-turn, trying to cover up said that his statement should not be misconstrued.

"As responsible citizens, everyone must wear the masks and that was my actual statement. I never said people should not wear masks," the minister said in a post on Facebook.

While trying to change from his earlier statement, Katti said, as a person holding a responsible position in the government, he was completely aware of his responsibility. "But my statement had been misunderstood and published in a section of the media," he said.

He continued on his FB account, "Everyone of us have realized our responsibilities in the prevailing Covid situation. Until the Covid crisis ends, we shall abide by all the guidelines."

While speaking to the media in Athani on Tuesday, Katti's response to a question on why he and other leaders (including former DCM Laxman Savadi) were not wearing masks drew flak from across the state.

"The Prime Minister himself said yesterday (Monday) that no restrictions will be imposed. Whether to wear a mask or not is left to the people. The people should take the responsibility and wear masks," Katti said on Tuesday.

"It is my personal opinion as to whether to wear a mask or not. And therefore I will not wear the mask. I did not feel like wearing the mask and that is why I am not wearing it. There's no problem," Katti said at the time.

Besides Katti, several noted leaders and his supporters present along with him were also not wearing masks in Athani on Tuesday. However, neither police nor other local authorities initiate action against them.

When the reporters asked him about his ambition to become Chief Minister of Karnataka, Katti said, the post of CM was not vacant and he would comment on it when the post fell vacant.

Commenting on the proposal to create new districts by dividing Belagavi, he said, Belagavi should be divided into three separate districts but the issue had taken a back seat due to various reasons. He said three districts would be carved out by dividing Belagavi in the future.

Responding to whether the CM would take up the cabinet reshuffle, he said, it was up to the CM to take a call on whether to expand or reshuffle his cabinet. About four berths were vacant in the cabinet and they could be filled, he added.


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