Ten foreign tourists taking a stroll in a northern Indian town in violation of the coronavirus lockdown were forced to write an apology 500 times, police said Monday.
India declared a 21-day nationwide lockdown that took effect on March 25 with people permitted to leave their homes only to get essential items and medicine.
The tourists, reportedly from the United States, Australia, Mexico and Israel were caught taking a walk on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh over the weekend.
In footage broadcast on several news channels, police officer Vinod Kumar Sharma is seen handing out the unusual punishment to tourists.
“They were each made to write ‘I did not follow the lockdown rules, I am very sorry’ 500 times,” local police officer Vinod Sharma said by phone.
“They are guests of our country but are repeatedly breaking the rules by loitering,” he said, adding that there were about 600 tourists in Rishikesh, a Hindu temple town known for its spiritual and yoga retreats.
Indian police have resorted to unusual ways of dealing with those who break lockdown rules. These include scaring the violators by wearing coronavirus-shaped helmets, making them do squats or threatening to confine them in a room and playing Bollywood songs on loop.
India, which is set to extend the lockdown until April 30, has seen a total of 9,152 coronavirus cases, including 308 deaths. (dpa)