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Home / India News / Self-styled godwoman defies Covid-19 lockdown in UP, brandishes sword

Self-styled godwoman defies Covid-19 lockdown in UP, brandishes sword

The incident happened at a religious gathering convened to mark the nine-day Navratri festival, which began on Wednesday. The woman and 12 others were arrested.

india Updated: Mar 26, 2020 10:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Self-styled godwoman, Maa Adi Shakti. (Video grab)
Self-styled godwoman, Maa Adi Shakti. (Video grab)

Defying the Covid-19 lockdown, a self-styled godwoman, Maa Adi Shakti, refused to call off a religious gathering and brandished a sword when police personnel rushed to the site in the Mehwa Pudwa area of Deoria district in eastern Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning.

The so-called godwoman and 12 others were arrested after the incident, the police said.

The religious gathering was convened to mark the nine-day Navratri festival, which began on Wednesday.

Deoria Superintendent of Police Sripat Mishra said, “In the morning, we received a tip-off that a religious gathering was underway for Navratri and some people were doing faith healing there.”

“On reaching the spot, the police appealed to the crowd to return home, telling them that Section 144 (of the CrPC) was in force across the state. But the self-styled godwoman became aggressive,” he said.

“She refused to call off the gathering and started brandishing a sword to stop the police. The police then used force to disperse the crowd and arrested 13 people, including the woman and her husband. FIRs (first information reports) under relevant sections have been lodged against all of them and they will be sent to jail,” Mishra added.

The entire country is under 21-day lockdown, put in place after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced it in his address to the nation on Tuesday.

The sweeping government restrictions affected trucks ferrying essential supplies and Indian Railways staff handling cargo operations as police within states and at borders restricted their movements. “Our staff across all zones are facing difficulties in reaching the terminals as they are being stopped by the local authorities. In many cases zonal divisional railway managers (DRMs) have had to call the police and ensure staffers are allowed. As transportation has not been provided, they have had to walk and some cycled,” a government official aware of the developments said on condition of anonymity.

In Delhi, serpentine queues could be seen outside Mother Dairy outlets. At many grocery shops, people were told that essential items were in short supply. Many could also be seen queuing outside gas cylinder agencies to purchase cooking fuel.

In five days, the number of Covid-19 cases has jumped from about 200 to 606, and experts say the number could surge if more people are tested. Five fresh cases were reported in the national capital in the last 24 hours.