Police on Friday picked up a groom, who had tested positive for the coronavirus, from his wedding venue in a southern Odisha village, leading to the postponement of the ceremony.
The groom, Rajendra Dandia, had decided to go ahead with the ceremony despite a warning from the authorities.
The incident took place in Ganjam district, around 280km from here.
Sanakhemnudi block development officer (BDO) Gayatridutta Nayak told The Telegraph: “After we received information that Rajendra Dandia, 28, was going to get married despite testing positive, we rushed to the spot along with the police force. After we intervened, his family agreed to postpone the marriage. They also gave us a written undertaking in this regard.”
According to the new rules in Ganjam district, the bride and the groom have to submit Covid negative reports to the local authorities before tying the knot.
“Rajendra’s swab sample was taken by local health workers on May 17. We received his report on May 21 morning, the day the marriage was to take place. We asked him to postpone the marriage over the phone. When we reached his house, we found out that he had already reached the wedding venue and preparations were being made for a feast involving nearly 100 people,” the BDO said.
According to the tribal tradition, the bride has to reach the groom’s house on the day of marriage. Rajani, 24, had come along with some of her relatives and was camping at the groom’s village at 10am with the marriage scheduled in the afternoon.
“Rajendra, who works as a mason, might have left the village after marriage in search of greener pastures,” the BDO added.
Tehsildar Srinivas Behera, who was also present at the spot, told this newspaper: “The family has agreed to postpone the marriage for at least one month. The groom was sent to a Covid care centre. After he recovers, his marriage would be solemnised as per Covid-19 protocol.”
Rajendra told this newspaper from the Covid care centre: “Though I was disheartened following the postponement of the marriage, I was happy that nothing bad happened to others because of me. I don’t know how I was infected with Covid-19. I would ask my would-be-wife Rajani to get her Covid test done before the marriage.
Rajendra, who studied up to Class VIII, said he would take the vaccine before marriage and would ensure Rajani does the same.
Local police inspector Sabyasachi Mall said: “Had we not intervened at the right time, many more people would have been infected. People need to be aware of such threats.”
Odisha has so far recorded 679,530 Covid cases. In the last 24 hours, 26 people succumbed to the virus, taking the total death toll to 2,456.