Ayodhya, March 19 (IANS) The coronavirus scare has cast a shadow over the coming celebration of Ram Utsav, with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) announcing a change in plan for the holy event.
Ram Utsav will be celebrated from Chaitra Pratipada falling on March 25 to Hanuman Jayanti on April 8.
Neither will a ‘Shobha Yatra’ be taken out, nor any kind of gathering allowed during the celebrations. VHP regional head Ambarish Singh has sent letters on the changed programme to each district, as directed by the central team of the VHP.
VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma told IANS: “Ram Utsav will be celebrated in a very dignified manner in 50,000 households in Uttar Pradesh and across three lakh villages in the country. All programmes that entailed gatherings of devotees have been cancelled.
He said that a Centre’s advisory on coronavirus will be followed. It has been decided not to hold any procession on Ram Utsav. While a number of seminars will be held, the duration of ‘aartis’ or prayers has been shortened.
Since the Supreme Court verdict on Ramjanmabhoomi temple, the VHP has been engaged once again in roping in more and more people for the temple construction campaign. For this, a strategy was devised to celebrate Ram Utsav on a large scale across the country, but the plan has been thwarted by the coronavirus scare.
On the other hand, temples and monasteries have closed doors to devotees even though they can have ‘darshan’ of Ramlala. However, to prevent coronavirus infections, devotees are allowed into the temple only after applying sanitisers on their hands.
Municipal Commissioner Neeraj Shukla said that this drill will be followed at Ayodhya, Hanumangarhi, Nageshwarnath, Naka, and Sahiadatganj, and other religious places including the makeshift temple of Ramlala.
The number of coronavirus patients in Uttar Pradesh has reached 17, including eight from Agra, two from Ghaziabad, four from Noida, and three from Lucknow.
According to state directorate for infectious diseases, 919 samples have been sent for examination. Of these, 778 have reported negative whereas reports of another 124 is yet to come.