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The Assam administration locked down three villages on Saturday after thousands of people in Nagaon district attended the funeral of a well-known preacher.
The funeral gathering held on July 2 in Nagaon was that of an 87-year-old Khairul Islam who was the vice-president of the All India Jamiat Ulema and "Aamir-e-Shariat" for the Northeast.
According to The Indian Express report, the family members wanted the funeral procession to be held on July 3, but later they decided to go ahead with it by July 2. The incident came to light after Islam's son, Aminul Islam, an MLA of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) from Nagaon's Dhing constituency uploaded pictures of the gathering on a social media platform.
District administration officials estimate at least 10,000 people were in attendance. Fear of a mass spread of the novel coronavirus prompted authorities to lock down three villages in Assam.
Nagaon Deputy Commissioner Jadav Saikia said two police cases have been filed, one suo motu by the police and another by a magistrate present at the spot. Saikia added that a lockdown has been imposed on three villages surrounding the field in an attempt to contain any spread of the virus.
"There were no law and order issues in the gathering. But the gatherers violated the ongoing COVID pandemic laws regarding the gathering, social distancing, wearing masks, etc. The cases are not against any individual but against violators. We will investigate the case and proceed as per law," Saikia told The Indian Express.
Commenting on the huge turn up of people at the gathering, MLA Islam told The Indian Express, "My father was a very renowned figure and had a very large following. We had communicated to the administration about the death and the funeral. Accordingly, to limit the number of participants, the police also asked many vehicles to revert back. But still, people found ways to turn up.
Assam's tally of positive coronavirus cases crossed the 11,000-mark on Saturday with the detection of 1,202 new cases, the single biggest spike in a day. The figure jumped from 9,777 cases to 11,001 within 24 hours.
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