On August 17, 2022, an order was issued by the Deputy Secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka stating that they will not be reimbursed any medical expenses due to their addiction to alcohol. The denial of medical expenses mentioned in this order, the language used and the reasons given are highly objectionable, unscientific and far from the truth. We strongly condemn it and urge the Government to immediately withdraw this order and continue with all facilities, including medical facilities, available to the Koraga community, stated Dr. Srinivas Kakkillaya in a release.
He urged that the Government should release the evidence that Koraga community suffers from severe diseases due to alcoholism and other bad habits and that the children, women and others of that community too are afflicted with diseases due to the same reason.
A study of the Koraga Community in Udupi, published in 2009 in the Journal of Allied Sciences, reported that the Koragas were less likely to suffer harm from alcohol than others. [Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences, 2009;8(4).] Therefore it is unfair to cancel all medical reimbursements on the pretext of blaming alcohol and other bad habits for all the diseases affecting the Koragas. Not only that, but it is also a great insult to the Koraga community, which is one of the oldest in our country, which once ruled this land, is now the most backward and has very few members left, he asserted.
He added, “therefore, such an inhuman and shameful order should be withdrawn immediately.
If medical reimbursement is not given to the Koraga community for the reasons given in this order, it is to be questioned whether the Government has the courage to issue an order that no medical reimbursement shall be given to the elected representatives and ministers who may have such ‘bad habits’ for the same reasons.”