Thousands of people, most of them unmasked, took part in a crowded religious gathering in Karnataka's Chikkamagaluru district despite a ban on mass gatherings to check the Covid spike in the state.
The chariot festival at Shri Shakuna Ranganatha Swamy Temple, visuals of which show hundreds of people with no sign of social distancing at all, was held even after the local administration ordered that the procession not be taken out.
The festival was organised hours after the Karnataka police issued an order, prohibiting all gatherings and political rallies.
An order issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Chikkamagaluru, to the local tehsildar refused permission for the procession and said that a festival can be observed inside the temple premises and not more than 50 people can attend it.
Shocking visuals show the chariot slowly making its way through a crowded locality. People are seen approaching the chariot and saying their prayers. A group of men is seen standing shoulder to shoulder as they pull the chariot by its ropes.
There are no signs of masks or distancing anywhere.
Even on the small platform in the chariot, a priest and three others, all of them unmasked, are seen sitting.
The visuals appear particularly striking when seen against the backdrop of Karnataka reporting 27,156 new Covid cases yesterday over a 24-hour period with a positivity rate of 12.45 per cent.
The state reported 14 deaths due to the infection as its active caseload stands at 2,17, 297.
Chikkamagaluru, where the chariot procession was held, reported 236 fresh infections yesterday over the past 24 hours.