The funeral of a Muslim cleric in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun, attended by tens of thousands on Sunday, has raised fears of a super-spreader as the state battles a Covid spiral. The UP police launched investigations into the event after filing a First Information Report (FIR) on Monday.
The cleric, Abdul Hamid Mohammad Salimul Qadri, died on Sunday afternoon.
Within hours, thousands had come from various parts of the state to Badaun and, violating all Covid safety rules and an ongoing lockdown, gathered at the mosque where the cleric's body was kept for public viewing.
Few masks were seen in the teeming crowds, which amassed apparently without the knowledge of the administration or the police. An aerial view showed hardly any breathing space in the mass gathering.
Visuals of the event, which have gone viral, have led to fear in the administration of a jump in infections.
To fight Covid, the UP government has restricted the number of people at funerals to 20. The penalty for not wearing masks is also stiff - Rs 1,000 the first time and Rs 10,000 for repeat offence.
"Cases have been filed against unknown people under the Epidemics Act. We are watching the video to gather evidence and strict action will be taken against those found violating restrictions," Badaun Superintendent of Police Sankalp Sharma told NDTV.
Uttar Pradesh has seen a dip over the past few days but Covid cases remain high at over 20,000 a day.