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Kerala police on Wednesday arrested 2,535 people across the state, who violated the lockdown rules. The arrested were mostly those who ventured out into the streets for non-emergency purposes, defying the orders.

A vicar and two officials of a local church in Pathtanamthitta district were also arrested for conducting a funeral which was attended by around 50 people, the police said. As per the state government orders, a maximum of 10 people are allowed to attend funerals.

The police also seized 1,636 vehicles and registered cases against 3,612 people, making it tough for people to get out needlessly.

The police has also announced cancelling vehicle registration and could confound passports as the next step.

The arrest of Priest Reji Yohanan, vicar of St Peters Church at Thuvayoor South, and the church's trustee Suraj and secretary Mathew is the third such instance of an arrest of religious leaders.

Earlier, the state had arrested another priest for conducting funeral and dozens of organisers at a Hindu temple for conducting a festival with hundreds of people in attendance.

The cases were registered against the three church officials under section 188 (disobedience of government order) of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Police Act section 118E (causing danger to the public), police said. They were all later released on bail, police said.

In the first day of the lock down, Kozhikode district topped the list with 351 cases, followed by Kollam with 276 cases. Kasargod, the most affected district, had the least number of cases as only 10 incidents were reported from the district, as it went under total shut down.

Kerala reported nine new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the state's total tally of active patients to 112, the second-highest number of positive cases for an Indian state.

PTI contributed to this story

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