Hundreds of people were seen flagrantly breaching Covid-19 rules as they gathered in a village in India – for a horse’s funeral.
Incredible footage shows crowds of people without face masks and breaching social distancing rules as they paid their respects to a horse they considered “divine”.
The extraordinary gathering took place in Karnataka, in southern India, and right in the middle of the country grappling with a devastating second wave of Covid-19.
The crowd, understood to have been of up to 400 people, had gathered to give the horse, which belonged to a religious organisation, a proper send off as they considered it to be a “guardian deity” protecting them against the virus.
The 24-year-old horse was left to roam the village freely for three days ahead of it dying on Sunday as locals believed it would “ward off the ongoing second wave of Covid-19”, the Times of India reports.
Locals reportedly told police they had to gather for the last rites ahead of the horse’s death in order to “pacify the gods”.
The Maradi village in The Gokak Taluk has now been sealed off for 14 days by local authorities while it is understood that 450 tests have been ordered following the event.
The same horse was made to wander around Maradi during the first wave and it was reported that not one case of Covid was reported locally then.
One case, however, has been reported following the latest gathering, the news outlet claims.
Manjunath Hukkeri, who donated the horse, was quoted by the Times of India saying: “Over the years, the animals have gained the status of “guardian deity.
“Elders say that in the time of plague and cholera too, mutt horses were left to walk in the village to protect residents.”
It comes as horror stories about India’s Covid crisis made international headlines over the last few weeks as it reached a peak in May of 414,188 daily infections.
On Tuesday, the country posted 196,427 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its lowest daily rise in infections since April 14.
The country’s overall officially recorded case load since the start of the pandemic now stands at 26.95 million while the death toll is at 307,000.