This Article is From Aug 21, 2020

Chaos At Karnataka Temple Event, 50 Arrested, Most Run Away From Village

G Sangeetha, Superintendent of Police, told NDTV the tehsildar had given permission for a puja held annually at the temple, but had limited number of people attending

The incident occurred at a village temple in north Karnataka's Koppal district


Fifty people have been arrested and charged with rioting in Karnataka's Koppal district after the gates to a temple were broken open and a chariot forcibly taken out despite restrictions in place during the Covid lockdown.

G Sangeetha, Superintendent of Police (SP) for the district, told NDTV that the tehsildar had given permission for a puja held annually at the temple in Dotihal village of Kustigi taluk in the north of the state.

However, because of the coronavirus lockdown the puja was to be held inside the temple and with a limited number of people involved.

As the crowd grew to around 50 people the temple doors were shut to stop more people from entering. However, those outside became agitated, broke open the metal grill that served as a gate and forced the temple chariot out.

By this time an even larger crowd had gathered and police had no option, the SP said, but to resort to a light lathi charge. Having dispersed the crowd, the police then took the chariot back and locked the gates.

Arrests were made based on CCTV footage of the incident.

G Sangeetha, the SP, said more arrests would be made, adding that the village in question was now almost empty of people - despite having over 7,000 registered voters - as most had run away.

Only the elderly and women had been left behind by the fleeing men.

The police will wait until the men returned home, the SP added.

Restrictions on movement and public gathering, including those for religious purposes, remain in place in Karnataka, which has seen a sharp spike in cases over the past weeks.

The state has reported nearly 2.7 lakh cases so far, of which over 4,000 are deaths linked to the virus and around 82,000 are active cases.

The state has recently revised its definition of containment zones - of which there are nearly 17,000 - and changed rules for home isolation, as it looks to contain the viral outbreak and reduce the load on its medical infrastructure.