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BMC Prohibits Chhath Puja On Beaches, Riverside And Lakes In Mumbai

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Mumbai’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a notice that prohibits Chhath Puja celebrations at beaches, riverside and lakes on Tuesday. The directive was issued keeping in mind the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Devotees have to set up artificial ponds at their own expenses

The annual Chahth puja festival will be celebrated on November 20 and 21 by people from North India this year, to dedicate prayers to the Sun god. The puja requires people to stand in water to make offerings at sunrise and sunset. However, BMC has put a ban on such rituals this year to ensure that there is no surge in the spread of the infection. Moreover, devotees wanting to perform the puja rituals would have to set up artificial ponds at their own expense, while scrapping them off after the celebrations are over should be ensured as well. Police will be deployed around these artificial ponds to ensure that devotees are wearing masks and following instructions of social distancing.

Also Read: Chhath Puja During COVID-19: No Rituals Near Public Water bodies In Jharkhand

The circular issued by the BMC also said that all 24 administrative wards would positively ensure medical tests of COVID-19 would be conducted near the ponds using antigen or RT-PCR kits.

The decision came even after the large migrant population from Bihar in Maharashtra had appealed to the state government to ease the restrictions and allow puja celebrations to take place at the beaches.

Decision is an “injustice to devotees” says BJP

BMC’s decision did not go well with the BJP which has termed it as an “injustice to devotees”. The party has demanded that Chhath Puja should be allowed to take place, though with certain restrictions, like it had been done for Ganeshotsav and Durga Puja. BJP leader Vinod Mishra said, “Immersion of Ganesh idols were allowed at beaches and lakes this year. The Covid situation during that period was grave and now when it has improved, the civic body is imposing more restrictions. These guidelines are discriminatory and we condemn them.”

Also Read: State Restrictions On Chhath Puja 2020 Due To COVID-19: Guidelines You Must Know

Meanwhile, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who celebrate this festival every year at Juhu beach, said, “In the interest of the city, I decided not to celebrate the festival at Juhu beach for the first time in the last 25 years. I appeal to the people to follow the same and instead pray at their homes,” he said.

In Delhi too, Chhath Puja celebrations in public have been banned by the government.

Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.