The police in Karnataka have filed a case against Janata Dal (Secular) Member of Legislative Council KT Srikante Gowda and his son for allegedly assaulting health workers while they were testing journalists for Covid-19 in Mandya city, IANS reported on Sunday.

“A first information report was filed against JD(S) Member of Legislative Council Gowda and his son Krishik for abusing and attacking doctors and ASHA [Accredited Social Health Activist] workers, conducting Covid tests on district scribes,” Mandya Superintendent of Police K Parushuram told the news agency.

“We are investigating the incident and will invoke the new law that stipulates arrest, Rs 50,000 fine and 3-year jail under the Karnataka Epidemics Ordinance, 2020, enacted on April 23, if the accused are found guilty,” he added.

According to The Hindu, Gowda’s son has been detained for assaulting a journalist.

Gowda and his supporters had on Saturday strongly opposed health check-ups of journalists at Dr BR Ambedkar Bhavan, which is close to his residence, over fears that Covid-19 may spread in the area. “I opposed the testing in our area after residents complained to me and wanted the mobile kiosk to be shifted to a government hospital,” Gowda was quoted as saying by IANS.

Gowda alleged that the district administration did not sanitise the area as per protocol before conducting the tests. “The district administration did not take preventive measures before doing the tests in our area,” he said, according to the news agency. “As per the standard operating procedure or protocols, the state health department should first sanitise or disinfect the area to prevent the spread of infection.”

Attacks on frontline health workers have now been made non-bailable offences, with a jail term for up to seven years. Earlier this week, the Centre approved amendments to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, to protect doctors, nurses, paramedics and Accredited Social Health Activist, or ASHA workers against violence.

On April 19, health officials in Bengaluru’s Padarayanapura area were attacked by the locals, when they had gone to shift some residents to a quarantine facility. Over 120 people had been arrested for the attack.

Karnataka has 500 cases of the coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Covid-19 has killed 18 people in the state.