Surat city police registered an offence against Deputy Mayor Nirav Shah and 17 others on late Friday for violating the lockdown by gathering at a Jain temple to feed stray animals and participate in a discourse that followed. Adajan police station officers took cognisance of a video that went viral on social media and showed Shah at the temple in Paal area of the city.
An offence was registered under IPC sections 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and under the Epidemic Diseases Act against 18 persons including the city deputy mayor.
President of Jain Shwetamber Murti Pujak Maha Sangh in Surat, Nitin Shah had coordinated with the deputy mayor and started the collection of food items for animals and birds. Arrangements were made for its distribution at the Jain temple in Paal of Adajan area. The Jain group had also issued a helpline number for the free distribution of food.
On Friday evening, when the collection and distribution of food was in progress at the temple hall, guru Acharya Abhaydev Suriji Maharaj showed up at the venue. After observing the process, he preached to his followers in the hall. An attendee shot a video of the preaching session, which was later circulated on social media, police said.
Adajan Police Inspector JB Bubadiya said, “We have registered an offence against Deputy Mayor Nirav Shah and others. They showed negligence in maintaining social distance while they were attending the preaching session by their guru. At present, we have not made any arrests.”
Deputy Mayor Nirav Shah told The Indian Express, “We started supplying food to animals and birds in Paal area. Volunteers had also gathered and we kept social distance. As the work was under progress, our religious head came to the hall, gave us his blessings and guided us. If there was any violation, we apologise. This kind of mistake will not occur in the future.”
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