MP: 17 booked for holding religious procession amid pandemic

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Ratlam, Jun 5 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh police have registered a case against 17 persons for taking out 'Kalash Yatra', a religious procession at a village in Ratlam district of the state, in which hundreds of Hindu devotees reportedly took part in violation of the COVID-19 norms, an official said on Saturday.

The district administration suspended a patwari (local revenue officer) and panchayat secretary, while a police official was also line-attached (removed from field duty), other officials said.

A purported video of the procession that was held on June 3 shows several women holding 'kalash' (pots containing sacred water) on their heads along with hundreds of people participating in it has gone viral on social media.

'An FIR has been registered against 17 persons for taking out 'Kalash Yatra' on Thursday in contravention of the COVID-19 restrictions at Barbodna village,' Namli police station in-charge V P Singh told reporters.

Those named in the FIR include a priest, an owner of DJ vehicle and members of the organising committee, he said.

The procession was part of a five-day long religious programme.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, district collector Kumar Purushottam said that the secretary of village panchayat and patwari of the area have been suspended for dereliction of duty.

Superintendent of Police Gaurav Tiwari told PTI that a personnel of Namli police station, who was posted in the area, has been line-attached for carelessness during the duty.

A gathering of more than six persons at a place has been banned in the state under ongoing restrictions in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, only four persons can gather at a religious place.

The FIR was registered under IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of Disaster Management Act. PTI COR ADU NP NP

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