Gujarat Police takes action against 23 including Sarpanch after hundreds flout COVID-19 curbs for religious event

With India consistently recording more than 3 lakh cases per day, several states including Gujarat have imposed partial lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus. More recently, the state government had extended the lockdown in major cities till May 12. But news updates about the raging pandemic, horror stories about those affected by COVID-19 and government directives urging people to stay homebound and socially distanced often seem to fall on deaf ears.

On Tuesday, a massive group of people went viral for all the wrong reasons, having gathered at Navapura village in the Sanand area of Ahmedabad district to offer prayers at the Baliyadev temple. While it is unclear as to how many people were there in total, videos of the gathering appear to show hundreds of women with large vessels perched on their heads, moving slowly. Not a single mask in sight, they appear to be moving to the beat of a song blaring though speakers, packed together in close proximity to each other.

After the clip went viral, KT Kamaria the Deputy Superintendent of Ahmedabad Rural Police explained that action had been taken against 23 individuals including the Sarpanch of the village.

The video has now become a talking point on social media with many political opponents hitting out at the BJP-led state government. As per official data, Gujarat on Tuesday reported 13,050 new COVID-19 cases, including 4,693 from Ahmedabad city.

Residents of Ahmedabad who visit other states for work are now required to produce a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test certificate to return to the city, civic authorities said on Wednesday. Following a direction from the Gujarat High Court, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has scrapped its April 5 order which said Ahmedabad residents who visit other states for work will not be required to undergo RT-PCR tests upon their return to the city.

(With inputs from agencies)

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