After BJP MP Tejasvi Surya's big reveal on what he called a "bed-blocking scandal" in Bengaluru, blaming his own party-controlled civic body, a video has exposed shocking communal comments made in his presence against 17 Muslim employees at a Covid war room.
A video shows Tejasvi Surya, the Bangalore South MP, in the municipal Covid war room with three BJP MLAs, grilling officials. One of the MLAs with him is his uncle.
Mr Surya is seen reading out a list of names of people posted in the Covid facility – all the names are Muslim. After rattling off 16 of the names he looks up and questions: "Who are all these people? First shift, second shift, night shift. 17 people in the list in three shifts. I will read the list. What was the process of hiring? 17 people. Who are these people?"
These 17 names were singled out from 205 employees in the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palik) Covid war room.
Mr Surya stops there - but his uncle and MLA Ravi Subramanya is heard shouting, "Have you appointed them for the madrassa or for the Corporation?"
Later, there is more offensive profiling from an MLA who says to a woman official, "Who is this person, Madam? How can he appoint 17 members like a Haj committee?"
Mr Surya says, "How did you choose them?" Then he adds that he is questioning only the qualifications of the man who made the selection.
"My only question is this. Instead of MBBS - why is BDS (dental doctor) in charge?"
Throughout the exchange, which lasts several minutes, Mr Surya does not stop the communal comments made by the MLAs.
After Tuesday's press conference, the list of 16 names started circulating on WhatsApp and from BJP-linked accounts with the caption: "List of people working in the BBMP War Room killing thousands of Bengalurians".
Bengaluru civic body commissioner Sarfaraz Khan was also targeted on social media, with posts saying he "should be made accountable". He has written to the Bengaluru police chief Kamal Pant and filed a complaint.
Mr Khan told NDTV he had nothing to do with the bed allotment process and that the allegations had caused him deep pain. He shared that Mr Surya had called him to clarify that he was not targeting him and that he stood by him.
"I admire political whistleblowers but feel saddened by the communal turn that the events have taken," Mr Khan said, adding that he had been busy helping with burials of Covid victims "of all communities".