Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramalu attended the wedding of Hadagali MLA PT Parmeshwar Naik's son at Lakshmipura, Davangere, where he was seen without a mask or maintaining any social distance while exchanging pleasantries with other guests.
This is the second time the state health minister was seen openly flouting rules that in place to contain the spread of coronavirus that has claimed thousands of life across the country, including many in Karnataka.
On June 2, Sriramulu attended a function in Chitradurga district without a mask and where he was welcomed by a huge crowd with no adherence to social distancing.
The wedding on Monday afternoon was attended by a large number of guests, including several politicians cutting across party lines. Among them were Congress leaders and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister G Parmeshwara and ex-minister Priyank Kharge. From the ruling camp, ministers Lakshman Savadi and Prabhu Chauvan were seen at the venue.
Questions are being raised about how the district authorities gave the permission for such a huge gathering at a time when the Ministry of Home Affairs has strictly mentioned about limiting guests to 50 individuals at a wedding amid the pandemic.
The police later registered a case in Harapanahalli Taluk of Ballari against Naik and his son after a complaint by the Tahsildar. Conditions like a cap of 50 attendees, social distancing and wearing of masks were not adhered to, police said.
Siddaramiah said it is hard to keep well-wishers away while hosting a wedding. "The law is same for all, but villagers have the tendency to come and greet even if they are uninvited" he said.
Deputy Chief Minister Ashwathnarayan, however, said that the authorities concerned should take necessary action else it would send out a wrong message to people.
"I have not seen any video clip. I am not aware of it, but whatever and wherever it might be, the DC concerned should ensure there is no scope for such lapses," he added.
Meanwhile, the Hadagali MLA expressed regret that so many people had turned up at the wedding to bless the couple despite him requesting them to not to so.
"I had sent a Whatsapp message to the villagers apologising that I would not be able to invite all of them in view of the COVID-19 crisis. They still came in large numbers. We have provided sanitisers and masks. I have got a notice from the police and I have expressed regret for it," he said.
The MLA explained that the wedding had been postponed from May to June due to the lockdown. The unavailability of 'choultrys' (wedding halls) forced the family to conduct the ceremony in Naik's ancestral village.
(With inputs from PTI)