Pilibhit officials lead procession, later deny

Pilibhit officials lead procession

Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), March 23 : A controversy has erupted over a video clip that shows the Pilibhit District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police leading a crowd, ringing bells and blowing conch shells.

The incident is of Sunday evening and is being seen in clear violation of the Janata Curfew call given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the clip, SP Abhishek Dikshit is seen blowing a conch shell and DM Vaibhav Srivastava is seen clanging a steel plate as people around them clap and march forward. Some kids are also a part of the crowd.

Later, in a tweet, the Pilibhit police clarified that the march was carried out to tell locals to avoid stepping out of their homes.

“District magistrate and superintendent of police were not trying to defy curfew. Some people were stepping out of their homes (in the streets) so they had to be told to go back. It was not reasonable to use force. One-sided reports in this regard are doing rounds,” the tweet in Hindi said.

The district magistrate is heard saying in the video, shared in the post, “People responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal of clanging utensils, clapping and expressing solidarity in these times. However, I appeal to all the people to stay inside their homes as public gatherings can increase the possibility of transmission.”

On Sunday, people across India — observing the self-imposed curfew — came out of their balconies in the evening to respond to Modi’s appeal asking citizens to stand at their doors, windows and balconies at 5 p.m. and clap, clang utensils or ring bells in a show of solidarity to those providing essential services, including doctors.

Late on Sunday, Pilibhit was added to the list of cities in Uttar Pradesh that are under a three-day lockdown.

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