Govt. bans gatherings and public celebration of festivals
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Govt. bans gatherings and public celebration of festivals

August 13, 2021

Bengaluru: As COVID-19 cases are seeing an upward trend once again in some districts, the State Government considering that many festivals fall in the months of August, September and October, has ordered a ban on large-scale social, political, religious and cultural congregation of people, as a precautionary and safety measure to check the spread of the deadly pandemic.

A string of festivals, including Muharram, Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja are celebrated in these months. Following the surge in COVID cases, the State Government has directed the district authorities to decide on enforcing restrictions locally on the festival days. In a fresh set of guidelines issued on Thursday, the Government said that no public celebration  of festivals or mass gatherings would be permitted in the State during the festive season.

The order issued by Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, Tushar Girinath, said places of worship such as temples, mosques and churches would be allowed to open by strictly adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. But taking out processions, annual jatras and holding public meetings have been completely banned.

The order listed out elaborate restrictions on the celebration of Muharram and Gowri-Ganesha festivals and banned all kinds of processions associated with both festivals. It said that prayers should be held at Masjids by strictly adhering to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. Also installation of Alams during Muharram in public places has been banned. All those aged 60 and above and children aged 10 and below should offer prayers at home. Mass prayers have been banned at community halls, Shaadi Mahals and other public places during Muharram.

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Similarly, the order has banned public celebration of Ganesha festival. Setting up pandals along roads, in playgrounds and other public or open spaces is banned. People must celebrate the festival in their homes and no procession or gathering will be allowed while bringing Ganesha idols or during immersion of the idols. Also, all Ganesha Temples must be sanitised every day and devotees visiting temples must undergo thermal screening and use hand sanitisers. 

Wearing of face mask and maintenance of physical distancing is mandatory at temples, masjids  and other religious places during the festival celebrations.

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