Hundreds of women flouted COVID-19 protocols to take part in a religious procession on Tuesday at Navapura village in Gujarat - the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi - sparking outrage on social media.
The country is under lockdown because a second wave of coronavirus is wreaking havoc. However, according to local police officials, the devotees organised the procession because they believed that offering prayers at Baliyadev temple in Sanand would help them get rid of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Several videos are doing the rounds on the internet in which hundreds of women can be seen carrying water in the steel pots over their heads and walking closely without wearing masks or standing at a distance.
"After police got to know about the incident, a team was sent to make the women devotees understand about the COVID-19 restrictions and send them back to their house. We’ve also rounded up 23 people, and booked and arrested the village sarpanch (head). The villagers claimed they made the procession with the belief that it would help them get rid of the coronavirus disease,” Virendra Yadav, the Superintendent of Police, Ahmedabad Rural, told News website The Indian Express.
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Shocked and angered by the incident, netizens took to Twitter slamming the authorities for letting so many people gather when the state was locked down.
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The Gujarat state government has imposed a lockdown until May 12.
On Tuesday, the state reported 13,050 fresh cases taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 620,472. In addition, 131 deaths were recorded taking the death toll to 7,779, the state's health department said.
India has reported 382,315 new COVID-19 positive cases and at least 3,780 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. The total caseload has crossed 20 million, with more than 226,188 lives having been lost since the onset of the pandemic.