Bengaluru: Former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s son actor son Nikhil got married Friday morning at Ramanagara, 50 km from Bengaluru, amid the nationwide lockdown and calls for social distancing to check the spread of Covid-19.
The wedding, held at the family farmhouse, was attended by fewer than 100 guests. A close associate of the family told ThePrint that they ensured everyone maintained the mandated distance of 1-metre throughout the ceremony. The family also made sure the prescribed sanitisation procedure was followed, the associate added.
But videos and photographs released by the family after the wedding showed a stark contrast between the two areas of activity at the venue — one where relatives were seated and the other where the marriage was solemnised.
Guests and relatives were seen seated at a distance of two to three metres from each other, watching the wedding proceedings on a live screen, even though some were seen without masks. The protocol, meanwhile, was completely violated at the mandap, or the area where the rituals were performed, as the family huddled close to the groom and bride.
The family members, who were the only people allowed inside the mandap, neither wore masks nor maintained distance. This included former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, 86, Nikhil’s grandfather, and his wife.
The photographs sparked outrage online because the wedding was only allowed on the condition that it would be conducted in adherence to certain norms mandated for Covid-19 prevention.
What level of ignorance and unawareness does @hd_kumaraswamy have, that in such a crucial time he is acting so vile?!
Utmost disrespect for law and order, and for near and dear ones. Look at the audacity of this Post Holder, he must be booked.
VIP Vultures.#Nikhilkumaraswamy pic.twitter.com/y46YD93bDK
— Aastha Varma (@AasthaVarma) April 17, 2020
Ok. Obviously poor souls are not aware that many in the country not being able to reach their families and are going hungry,while the rest are trying to help others override this crisis.Wonder what was served in the buffet.. #SocialDistancing #unheededwarnings #vipentitlement https://t.co/KPrZFkjHGw
— Raveena Tandon (@TandonRaveena) April 17, 2020
Corona will check VVIP pass and go away saying "sorry sir" https://t.co/130rUX9wGL
— R S Prasanna (@rs_prasanna) April 17, 2020
A senior police officer in charge of Ramanagara said the wedding was conducted with the permission of the local deputy commissioner, adding that police ensured that guests did not violate the lockdown rules.
“We were given the registration numbers of the cars that would be arriving at the venue. This is only the immediate family members,” the officer said. “Forty-two cars were allowed and not more than 100 people were allowed at the wedding venue.”
Asked about the family seemingly violating protocol during the rituals, the officer said police did not go inside as it “was their private affair”.
“It’s their responsibility to ensure safety during this time,” the officer said.
8 conditions for ceremony
Actor-turned-politician Nikhil got engaged to Revathi, the grandniece of senior Congress leader M. Krishnappa, in February. A big-ticket wedding was scheduled for 17 April, but the Covid-19 pandemic cast a shadow over the family’s plans.
Since the family didn’t want to postpone the “auspicious date”, Kumaraswamy sought special permission from the state’s B.S. Yediyurappa government.
On 22 March, the administration allowed closed-door weddings with a gathering of fewer than 100 guests while stressing that all Covid-19 protocol be followed. Several weddings have since taken place in accordance with the guidelines.
The permission letter issued by Ramanagara deputy commissioner Dr Rajendra listed eight conditions, including that the family observe all “restrictions and precautionary measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19” and that “all participants must wear a mask”.
In a media briefing a day before the wedding, Kumaraswamy had said there would be thorough screening of guests, a sanitisation process would be followed, and the guests would be wearing masks and gloves.