Gujarat: Over 200 people gather for religious event; FIR filed
(Sourced from PTI)
Over 200 people gathered for a religious function at Dada Saheb Jain Temple in the Kalanala area in Bhavnagar city of Gujarat following which police registered an FIR against its organizers for alleged violation of COVID-19 guidelines, an official said on Monday. The police also found that the program organizers had not taken permission for the event from the competent authority, he said.
"Acting on information, the police reached the temple in Kalanala area on Sunday afternoon and found over 200 people gathered at a hall in the premises," the official from Nilambagh Police Station said. "Despite the possibility of spread of COVID-19 infection, they brought together more than 200 devotees at the Derasar to participate in a religious function without permission from authorities," the official said.
The state government had recently notified that all social, political, and religious functions will be allowed with a maximum of 200 people in an open area, and in case of closed space, a maximum of 50% capacity and not exceeding 200 attendees would be allowed.
"An FIR was registered against four organizers of the event on Sunday night under Indian Penal Code Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 269 (negligent act likely to spread the infection of disease dangerous to life), and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act," the official informed. On Sunday, Gujarat reported 33 COVID-19 cases, taking the infection tally to 8,24,493.
However, this is not the first time that such an incident has happened in Gujarat. In May, when the second wave of COVID-19 was at its peak, over 80 people were arrested after a social media video showed them participating in a religious procession for performing a ritual to "protect" their village from the scourge of coronavirus in Prantij taluka of Gujarat's Sabarkantha district.
In another such case, police had arrested 46 people for taking out a religious procession at a village in Gandhinagar district to "eradicate coronavirus." A video showed 100 men and women, many without masks, participating in the procession. A few days before this, over 500 women had gathered in Navapura village of Ahmedabad in a similar bid. Around 23 people were later arrested.