Amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, when widespread restrictions are in place, women in large numbers gathered in Navapura village, Sanand in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district. The women had gathered on Tuesday to offer prayers at the Baliyadev temple, reported ANI.

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The event garnered widespread backlash on social media as it was held when India is reeling under a massive surge in COVID cases.

“With such sickness in our minds, hw do we deserve recovery from this damn pandemic,” tweeted one user.

“THIS CANNOT BE REAL, we are making a fun of ourselves in front of the World, who r sending tonnes of Relief for COVID,” tweeted another.

 23 people, including the sarpanch of the village, was booked over the gathering, said KT Kamaria, a senior police officer in Ahmedabad Rural district.

Gujarat has recorded more than 620,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,779 deaths. 12,955 new cases were recorded on Wednesday, as per the state health ministry’s tally.

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To rein in the virus, Gujarat has announced several guidelines, which include the shutting down of religious sites. Several major cities are under lockdown till May 12 and night curfews are in place in several areas.