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Kerala HC orders opening state border at the highway near Kasaragod, a coronavirus hotspot, Karnataka govt objects

The Karnataka government said it could not overlook the fears of people on its side of the border about a potential spread of the virus if the border is kept open.

The stalemate at the Kerala-Karnataka border at Kasaragod continued on Thursday after Karnataka has reportedly refused to follow the orders of Kerala High Court to remove the blockade on National Highway 66.

On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court had ordered the centre to remove the blockade on National Highway 66 at the Kerala-Karnataka boarder. The High Court intervention came after a petition was filed by the Kerala High Court Advocates Association seeking the removal of the blockade erected by Karnataka.

The Kerala High Court had said that this was not an appropriate time to impose such restrictions while directing to open the borders.

However, the Karnataka has held its position to not to open the borders at Kasargod, as Muslim majority North Kerala district has been the epicentre of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic in the southern part of the country.

Karnataka had closed this border on March 21 fearing the spread of the COVID-19 virus from Kasaragod district in Kerala where infections had erupted last week. Karnataka had ignored requests from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to open the border for people in Kasaragod who need urgent medical help at the nearest hospitals Mangaluru and Manipal. Kerala often depends on Karnataka for health resources because of the state’s abysmal health care facilities.

The Karnataka government said it could not overlook the fears of people on its side of the border about a potential spread of the virus if the border is kept open. The Dakshina Kannada district police had deployed an earthmover and dumped boulders to block the national highway that connects Kerala. 

Reportedly, the Karnataka government has also decided to move to Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court verdict to open the borders at Kasargod. Karnataka has contended that it was not bound to act on an order issued by the Kerala High Court order.

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