Wardha BJP MLA Dadarao Keche on Sunday allegedly violated the lockdown norms in Maharashtra by distributing rations to the public at his residence to mark his birthday, according to several media reports.
At least one hundred people gathered outside the MLA's residence to receive free grain before officials and police reached the spot and dispersed them.
WATCH | Amid lockdown, 200 people gather at residence of BJP MLA Dadarao Keche in Maharashtra on his birthday pic.twitter.com/7bHK70n829
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) April 5, 2020
However, Keche claimed that he did not call anyone to his residence to celebrate his birthday." I distribute food to the poor and needy every year on my birthday. I was planning to distribute foodgrain only to 21 families," Keche told India Today. "After doing that I left for a temple but then Opposition conspired and spread the message that I was distributing free ration to everyone. This resulted in mass gathering."
But Wardha superintendent of police Basavraj Teli told Indian Express Keche was home when the crowd gathered. “We have registered an offence in this regard against Keche.”
Wardha collector Vivek Bhimanwar further told the newspaper, "We had not given him any permission for the programme nor had he sought one from us. He had expressed a desire for a blood donation camp which we had refused permission for. Instead, we allowed blood donation by five persons on the occasion at Arvi Primary Health Centre (PHC) adhering to the social distancing norm. As soon as the police got information about the crowd at his residence, they swung into action and dispersed it. The SDO has directed the police to conduct an inquiry.”
“I understand that we all must strictly adhere to social distancing norm to fight the coronavirus as desired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Dadarao added.
Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) Harish Dharmik told ANI Keche will face action under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Maharashtra has reported the highest number of coronavirus positive cases and deaths among all Indian states.
So far, close to 700 people have been infected and 45 killed by the deadly virus in Maharashtra.
More than 100 people have died of the virus in India while it has infected over 4,000.
To restrict the spread of novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government had imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown that came into effect from 25 March.
The government has asked people to remain indoors and practice social distancing to break the chain of the pandemic.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 06, 2020 13:04:01 IST