New Delhi: The coronavirus spread has surged all over again and this has resulted in a growing number of covid caseloads. Many state governments and Union Territories have declared a band on the public celebration of the Holi festival.
Holi will be celebrated on Monday (March 29). The pandemic has affected every single realm of our lives and festivals are no exceptions. The Centre as issued a circular under section 22 of the Disaster Management Act that advises all the states and union territories to impose restrictions prior to the festival season.
India recorded 47,262 cases on Wednesday (March 24). The Health Minister has said on Wednesday (March 24) that the caseload in the country has reached 1,17,34,058.
Following are the states and union territories that have imposed restrictions on the public celebration of the Holi festival:
Maharashtra has the highest number of active coronavirus patients than any other state in the country. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has taken this situation into consideration and stated that Holi celebration on Sunday (March 28) and Monday (March 29) both public and private will not be permitted. BMC has further added that for those who will go against this circular, strict actions will be taken under the Epidemic Disease Act of 1987 and the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The Pune district and civic authorities followed the same suite and have banned Holi celebration in public and private spaces. Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune district collector in an official order said that in light of the rise in cases of coronavirus, Holi celebration in public spaces such as hotels, resorts and other public spots in rural areas are banned. Housing societies are not permitted to organise Holi celebrations on their premises on March 28, 29.
The state government of Harayana on Wednesday (March 24) has banned the Holi celebration in public spaces amid the spread of coronavirus. Harayana state has been observing constant growth in the COVID-19 caseloads.
Home Minister Anil Vij tweeted by saying that “The Haryana government has banned public celebrations of Holi in view of corona…” Districts such as Gurugra, Karnal, Ambala and Panchkula has been severely affected by the pandemic.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday (March 23) ordered that festivals such as Holi and Navratri will not be celebrated in the public spaces in the national capital. Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev has given orders to authorities to ensure strict compliance of the same.
Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev in his order said that “All authorities concerned will ensure that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri, etc. shall not be allowed in public places /public grounds/public parks/markets/religious places etc. in NCT of Delhi.”
The Gujarat government has also issued orders which prohibits the public celebrations of Holi. However, the religious ritual of ‘Holika Dahan’ is allowed with a restricted crowd and following all the guidelines. Holika Dahan will take place on March 28.
Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that the government will only allow ‘Holika Dahan’, a pyre lighting ritual with a limited number of people in housing societies and villages. He further said that people will not be allowed to form crowds to play colour among each other.
“No permission is granted for the celebration of Holi. Action will be taken against violators. However, I believe the people of Gujarat will follow rules and will not play Holi.” said Nitin Patel.
The state has observed a sudden spike in caseloads in Cuttak and Khurda districts. The state official said that the Odisha government has banned the Holi celebrations in public spaces this year.
The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) in an order said that “Holi on March 28 and 29 and related rituals shall not be observed in public places throughout the state.” SRC PK Jena said in the order that people may celebrate Holi with their family in private spaces such as houses but not in any public places including the public roads.
The state government has also put restrictions on the “Dola” festival.
6. Uttar Pradesh
The district magistrate Lucknow said that “Holi festivities like rain dance parties and other open dance programmes have been banned in the capital, permissions given to such programmes earlier have been withdrawn.”
The state government has ordered testing all the people at railway stations, airports and bus depots arriving for the Holi celebrations from the other states that are facing a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Senior citizens above 60 years of age, children below 10 years and people with co-morbidities issue have been advised not to participate in any public celebration.
7. Madhya Pradesh
Lockdowns have been imposed in severely affected cities such as Indore, Bhopal and Jabalpur. State CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has appealed to all the citizens to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines. He also said that “people should avoid crowded places and also stop taking part in the festivities for some time. Even the Holi festival must be celebrated at home only.”
The Chandigarh authorities have cancelled all the Holi- related celebrations and have also banned all clubs and restaurants from organising any kind of public gathering. An official statement was announced by the Chandigarh administration which said “The residents must celebrate Holi festival at home while following appropriate COVID-19 protocol.”