MP: Crowd gathers to welcome monk; social distancing norms violated
Guidelines for social distancing went for a toss at a town in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar district on Monday as a crowd gathered to welcome a monk. The crowd had gathered when a group of Jain monks, headed by Muni Pranam Sagar, reached Banda town. A video clip of the gathering has since gone viral and has drawn the attention of authorities.
"This seems to be a case of violation of preventive orders issued under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Section 144," Additional Superintendent of Police Praveen Bhuria told the news agency PTI. Bhuria said they learned about the incident from videos that went viral online. He said directives have been issued to Banda police station officials to register a case after verification of the videos.
In the video clip that went viral, a large group of people can be seen gathered on a street without face masks. The crowd also did not follow guidelines of social distancing laid down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Banda police station in-charge Kamal Singh told PTI that they will register a case against 400-500 unidentified people.
On Tuesday, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had called for a law to make violation of social distancing norms a criminal offense. Vij stressed on the importance of the law since people have not been following advisories. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government is seeking suggestions from social organizations, engineers, doctors, media representatives, etc., for a lockdown strategy post-May 17.
Till Tuesday night, Madhya Pradesh had reported a total of 3,986 COVID-19 cases, including 225 deaths. Sagar district has reported 10 cases, including one death. The state is one of the worst-hit regions of India. It also has a fatality rate of 5.6%, considerably higher than the national average of 3.2%. Overall, India has reported 74,281 cases with a death toll of 2,415.