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6th May 2020

In_pictures India coronavirus: Officials suspended over large crowds at Hindu festival

In_pictures India coronavirus: Officials suspended over large crowds at Hindu festival

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in_pictures People participating in the chariot-pulling festivalImage copyright
ANI

Image caption

People participating in the chariot-pulling festival

Indian officials have suspended a local magistrate and a police official for allowing large crowds to attend a chariot-pulling festival at a Hindu temple on Thursday morning.

A case has also been filed against the trustees of the temple and another 20 people, police told the BBC.

Pictures of the crowds caused outrage after they surfaced on social media.

It comes weeks after Covid-19 clusters were linked to a Muslim religious gathering in the capital, Delhi.

Revoor village, which is in the state’s Kalburagi district, has been sealed off and officials are rushing teams of medical personnel to set up fever clinics there, the deputy commissioner of the district, told the BBC.

Kalburagi recorded India’s first coronavirus-related death – it is also the first district to implement “containment areas”, which involves sealing off villages where infections are reported.

Revoor is also close to another village that has been sealed off after a two-year-old tested positive for coronavirus.

The festival was held despite temple trustees giving officials an undertaking that it would not go ahead, a state lawmaker, Priyank Kharge, told the BBC.

Officials say that the daily rituals were performed at the temple on Wednesday evening in the presence of a few priests and temple trustees.

But early the next morning, the chariot was brought out of the temple premises and was pulled by “hundreds of people,” according to one official. They estimate that under 1,000 devotees attended the event.

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