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In Gujarat, 23 booked over kalash yatra to ‘keep Covid away’

The local Thakor community in the village, police said, believe that pouring water from a kalash on their community deity, Baliyadev, at the temple would rid of harm.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: May 6, 2021 4:30:27 am
The devotees were seen taking out a procession with steel pots (Kalash) on their heads towards Baliyadev temple in nearby Nidradh village

Twenty-three people, including Navapara village sarpanch, were rounded up at Sanand in Ahmedabad rural on Wednesday, a day after a video of a large number of women devotees taking out a religious procession (kalash yatra) amid a raging Covid-19 pandemic emerged, police said.

According to the police, hundreds of women devotees, with steel pots (kalash) on their heads, were purportedly seen in the video taking out a procession from Navapara village towards Baliyadev temple in nearby Nidradh village Tuesday morning, flouting social-distancing norms. The villagers, police said, had not obtained prior permission from the police before organising the event.

Virendra Yadav, the Superintendent of Police, Ahmedabad Rural, told The Indian Express, “After police got to know about the incident, a team was sent to make the women devotees understand about the Covid-19 protocol and send them back to their houses. We have also rounded up 23 persons, and booked and arrested the village sarpanch. The villagers claimed they took out the procession with the belief that it would help them get rid of the coronavirus disease.”

The local Thakor community in the village, police said, believe that pouring water from a kalash on their community deity, Baliyadev, at the temple would rid of harm.

“Taking out such processions is a custom for villagers in the area. Police are trying to make them understand about the risk involved in such huge gatherings. We are continuously organising meetings at individual levels in villages to send the message that police will take strict action if Covid-19 protocols are violated,” Yadav said.

Sarpanch Bharatbhai Dabhi along with 22 persons have been booked under IPC sections 188 for disobedience to order given by public servant, 269 for negligent act likely to spread infection of a disease and sections of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020.

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A similar incident also reported from Kunvar village in Sanand taluka Wednesday where 250 persons were seen taking a procession towards a local temple. Police have arrested 10 persons, under similar IPC sections, in the incident.

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