Scores took out a procession in Karnatakaâ€™s Kalaburagi district on Thursday in defiance of the lockdown imposed across the nation to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The gathering was part of the Siddalingeshwara fair that is associated with a chariot festival held in Chittapur during this time of the year. Visuals from the procession showed that all norms of social distancing were violated, with many men pulling a five-storey chariot along the road. A large crowd also walked along with the chariot as part of the procession.
#Rawoor Villagers in Gulbarga district defy lockdown and took part in a (Siddhalingeswara) chariot festival.
Gulbarga is one of the worst affected. India's first #Covid19India death was reported from my District. Should take action against organizers. @KlbDistPolice pic.twitter.com/Myt6TJJ3cNâ€” Syed Aleem Ilahi (@AleemIlahi) April 16, 2020
Reports suggest that despite the huge turnout there was no intervention from the police nor the district administration. Many pointed out that a similar incident was also organised in the area on March 13 where many turned up, however, at that time neither the state government nor the central government had imposed a lockdown.
TNM could not reach the Kalaburagi district administration for a comment.
Upon being alerted by the public on Twitter, the state governmentâ€™s information department said that the Deputy Commissioner of the district has been apprised of the situation and he will take necessary action. They also clarified that no permission was given by the district authorities to conduct the event in light of the strict restrictions.
Subsequently the district police department said they have already registered a case in connection with the event.
Kalaburagi is also one of the districts in the state with a high number of COVID-19 cases. Till Thursday, the district had reported 20 cases, the fourth highest among all districts and also reported the maximum number of deaths with 3 fatalities. Among the 20 patients, 14 of them are currently undergoing treatment.
Kalaburagi was also the first district to report the first COVID-19 death in the country.