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Violation of Covid norms at weddings in Gujarat: 700 held in 41 days

As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on in Gujarat, police are cracking down on protocol violators at weddings and have arrested 700 persons in the past 41 days for violating mask, social distancing and night curfew norms during such functions across the state.

In Petlad taluka of Anand district, six Disc Jockeys (DJs) were detained and their equipment impounded on Thursday night over Covid protocol violations.

At present, 36 cities of Gujarat, including the four metropolitan cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot, are under night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am, during which no wedding processions or ceremonies are allowed. Additionally, there is a cap of maximum 50 attendees at a weddings and interested parties have to register themselves online in advance.

According to details released by the office of Gujarat Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia, “In the recent past, as many as 540 cases of Covid protocol violations were registered and 700 persons have been arrested. ”

As per details given by Gujarat Police, from December 19, 2020 to April 24, 2021, 867 cases of masks and Covid guidelines violations were registered and 254 persons were arrested. Then in a month till May 2, as many as 471 persons were arrested and in the past 10 days, 200 more were arrested.

On April 20, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani released a statement that a large number of weddings were slotted for the auspicious dates of April 25, 26 and 27 and if any instance of flouting of guidelines was found, then police personnel of the area would be held responsible.

“If the wedding is overcrowded, beyond permitted number, action shall be taken against the officer responsible too,” Rupani had said.

It was then that the Gujarat DGP asked police officials to take stock of planned wedding ceremonies on digital Gujarat portal and monitor as well as conduct inspections at the weddings in their respective areas to ensure compliance of covid protocols. The DGP had also made an appeal to the DJs and wedding planners to not to violate covid protocol or else face police action.

Recently, a video went viral on social media where hundreds were seen dancing in front of a vehicle carrying DJ music system as part of a wedding procession a night in Anklav taluka of Anand. After the video surfaced, nine persons, including the sarpanch of the village, were arrested by the police.

Similarly, for the first time on Thursday, police in Anand detained six DJs and impounded three vehicles and music systems in three different FIRs filed at Petlad rural police station.

As per the FIRs accessed by The Indian Express, in all three instances police found that no permission or prior notice for wedding was given by the parties and a large number of crowd had assembled in front of the DJ vehicles. In total, nine persons, including six DJs and three related to weddings, have been booked under IPC 188 for disobedience to order given by public servant and 269 for negligent act likely to spread infection of a disease.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Ajit Rajian, superintendent of police, Anand, said, “DJ music system attracts crowd and then the chances of breaking Covid protocols are high so police have started taking proactive steps against DJs violating guidelines in weddings. Additionally, we have touched base with sarpanchs of all villages in our district, community leaders, DJs, buggi wallahs and wedding planners to request them to comply with Covid protocols.”

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