Violating the lockdown norms, the chariot festival of a local Lord Shiva temple was organised with the participation of a large number of devotees in Kalaburagi district, a COVID-19 hotspot in Karnataka, police said on Friday.
Five organisers of the event have been arrested while the area sub-inspector of police and a district official suspended in connection with the incident, they said.
The annual chariot festival of Lord Siddalingeshwara temple in Ravoor village in Chittapur taluk was organised on Thursday morning for about 15-20 minutes despite the management agreeing not to go ahead with it in view of the lockdown, a police official said.
"Five people (organisers) have been arrested while a police sub inspector and a official from the district administration suspended," Kalaburagi Superintendent of Police Iada Martin Marbaniang told PTI.
According to him, the festival is conducted in the evening annually and the temple authorities had a few days ago given a written commitment to the SI that they would not organise it this year.
They gave the commitment after the SI persuaded them during a meeting he held with them, citing the national lockdown and bar on large gatherings, including religious, the SP said.
"Usually the function is conducted in the evening but perhaps they knew that if they try to do it in the evening police will be there. So they performed it in the morning for about 15 to 20 minutes," Marbaniang said.
Kalaburagi is one of the major COVID-19 hotspots where the first coronavirus death in the country had taken place.
Till Thursday, the district has reported 20 positive cases, including three deaths.
There are 14 active cases undergoing treatment in the district.