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String of festivals keeps Telangana government on tenterhooks

Vendors wait for customers ahead of festive season at Abids in Hyderabad. Photo: Srinivas Setty
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Vendors wait for customers ahead of festive season at Abids in Hyderabad. Photo: Srinivas Setty

Highlights

Authorities worried over how to keep mass celebrations under control

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Hyderabad: The month-long festive season from April 13 (Tuesday) to May second week will prove to be a testing time for the Telangana Government.

The month of Ramzan begins from Wednesday and will last till May 13. Srirama Navami festival would be celebrated on April 21 followed by Hanuman Jayanthi on April 27.

Since all these festivities involve celebrations where a large number of people normally congregate, the State Government is working out strategies to see that there were no mass gatherings to prevent further surge in the Covid-19 cases.

It may be mentioned that Health Minister Eatala Rajender had recently said that the government did not anticipate a second wave.

With fast increase in cases, the government imposed restrictions on mass gatherings at holy places. Despite several appeals by the government and the police levying fines on motorists for not using masks, the number of people following Covid norms has not gone up over 45 percent.

In the backdrop of this situation and with month-long festivities ahead, police and civic authorities feel that they need to ensure that health protocols are strictly followed.

Efforts are being made to convince the communities to adhere to the safety norms like social distancing, limited number of gatherings, using masks and hand sanitisers.

Officials said that civic authorities have asked the Muslim religious heads not to permit mass gatherings at mosques during the month of Ramzan.

People were requested to organise Iftar parties with family members only and banned distribution of meals by erecting tents in public places and the premises of masjids.

The government also suggested that people avoid social visits and handshake and hugs during the festive season. Special Police teams would be deployed at all masjids to monitor the movement of people during the prayer time.

If the religious places were found violating the safety protocol , the head of the particular religious place will be held responsible. If anyone goes to a mosque without wearing a mask, he would be fined Rs 1000.

The authorities have also asked the local leaders and legislators to educate people about the importance of maintaining social distancing and stop hosting iftar parties.

They said the government would distribute Ramzan gifts to the needy at their doorsteps.

The government is also preparing a safety protocol to conduct Sri Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanthi with a limited gathering.

Police would soon convene a meeting with Hindu religious heads and take a decision on permitting rallies by devotees on the two auspicious days this month. Strict restrictions on mass gatherings during these festivities were imposed.

At all famous Srirama temples in Hyderabad, special safety measures would be taken to limit the devotees visiting temples on Srirama Navami.

People would be permitted to organise small mandapams only to perform special puja on that day.

Hanuman jayanthi will also be a low-key event as devotees are requested not to take out public rallies.

While appreciating the decision of the authorities to strictly impose Covid norms, political parties like BJP and Congress are questioning as to whether the Covid safety norms were only for non TRS parties and people.

They took strong objection to the TRS deciding to hold a public meeting to be addressed by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Halia on April 17 where about one lakh people are expected to gather.

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