In light of Ganesh Chaturthi, Moharram: Public celebrations & processions banned

New Delhi: Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), on Sunday, issued orders prohibiting idol immersions and large gatherings in public places in light of the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi and Moharram. The order also instructs the District Magistrates to take steps in order to dissuade people from gathering in large numbers.

The DDMA order comes after the Centre had issued guidelines banning "large religious gatherings and religious programmes" to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"During Ganesh Chaturthi Festival, no idol of Lord Ganesha shall be set up in the Tent/panda I/ public place, nor any kind of permission shall be granted for procession. People shall be encouraged and advised to celebrate the festival at their home only at this time of COVID-19 Pandemic," the order stated.

Similarly, no permission will be granted for the Tajiya procession during Moharram either, the order elaborated. Authorities have been directed to impose fines for violating "social distancing, wearing of mask/ cover, spitting in public places" during the festivities. All government hospitals have been asked to prepare in advance to deal with "any emergent situation and doctors/ para-medical staff shall be on duty round the clock" during the festivals.

In order to maintain peace and harmony, the order directs all District Magistrates and District DCPs to convene meetings with religious / community leaders before every festival which has the possibility of large gathering or congregation, "to get their cooperation to maintain the law & order and harmony" and deploy police force in "all communally sensitive areas and in containment zones." It also directs officials to monitor social media platforms and "rumour mongers" and impose Section 144 (CrPC) if required.

The order directs officials to make arrangements for the deployment of Dog Squads, Anti Terrorist Squads and Bomb Disposal Teams for intensive search and checking at religious and public places and implement "strict compliance of Motor Vehicle Act." Officials have also been directed to provide public facilities like electricity, water and hygiene/cleanliness/sanitisation during the festivities.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) took another step to boycott Chinese goods and promote the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi at home by promoting "Environment-friendly Ganesh Idol" made of mud, cow dung and manure. CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the CAIT has decided to promote Ganesh idols prepared with mud, cow dung and manure with Tulsi and other vegetable seeds so that after the festival, the idols can be immersed in water and the seeds can be planted. They said that the sizes of these idols will be 6-inch, 9-inch and 12-inch so that they can be worshipped and immersed in the water easily at home.

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