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Amid lockdown, over 1,000 attend annual tribal procession in Rajasthan's Bundi

Action was initiated against three officials and two police personnel stationed in the area for not reporting the event to the district administration.

Published: 05th April 2020 09:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2020 09:56 PM   |  A+A-

Lockdown

India has been on a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to check the spread of coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 65,000 lives globally. (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

KOTA: More than 1,000 people belonging to the Kanjar tribal community assembled for an annual procession in Ramnagar village of Bundi district in violation of the ongoing nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Police said five people, who allegedly organised the event, were arrested and sent to judicial custody for violation of the lockdown and Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) by inviting a congregation of around 1,500 people and holding a community event on Friday, a day after Ram Navami.

One person involved in the matter is at large.

Meanwhile, action was initiated against three officials and two police personnel stationed in the area for not reporting the event to the district administration.

Kanjars are a denotified nomadic tribal group in the region that have historically been known for committing dacoity and other illegal acts.

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As part of their community customs, the procession of Neja, known in local parlance as Neja ki savari, is taken out every year with community oracles to mark the conclusion of nine days of Navratras either on the day of Ram Navami or a day after the festival.

Around 1,500 people of the community gathered in Ramnagar village on Friday, a day after Ram Navami, to watch and offer prayers to the Neja procession taken through the main areas of the village.

Bundi Superintendent of Police Shivraj Meena said a large number of people of the Kanjar community in Ramnagar village assembled at the place despite imposition of Section 144 of CrPC and the ongoing lockdown.

On being tipped off about the large gathering, police rushed to the spot and dispersed the people even as most participants fled the spot upon noticing police personnel, the SP said.

He added that six people, who had allegedly organised the event, were booked under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and five of them were arrested.

The six people were identified as Himmat, Ranjeet, Netram, Hukumchand, Ramkishore and Bakishan and five of them were arrested on Saturday evening while Hukumchand is absconding, Circle In-charge Bundi Sadar police station Mukesh Kumar Meena said.

The five arrested accused were produced before a local court on Sunday and remanded to judicial custody till April 13, he said, adding that further investigation into the matter is underway.

Disciplinary action has also been initiated against two police personnel, who were posted at Ramnagar police check post, for negligence on duty by not reporting the matter to senior officials and notices have been served to them, SP Meena said.

The event was organised by the locals and no outsider had reached there to participate in the event, the SP claimed.

"No permission was sought for the event in Ramnagar village on Friday. However, the gathering was dispersed within 20-25 minutes and the police have initiated action in the matter," Bundi District Collector Antar Singh Nehra said.

"The panchayat elementary education officer (PEEO) of the gram panchayat, the village development officer and the patwari of the area were on duty on the day of the event in Ramnagar but they neither informed me nor the district control room," Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Bundi, Kamal Kumar Meena pointed out.

Disciplinary action against the three officials has been initiated and a charge sheet has been handed over to the patwari while senior officials have ordered for the same to be issued to the PEEO and village development officer, the SDM said.

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