The Jharkhand government has restricted Chhath Puja rituals in public water bodies such as “public ponds, rivers, lakes, dams and reservoirs” due to COVID-19 this year. The state disaster management department, in its order late on Sunday, issued detailed guidelines for celebrating Chhath festival this year. These precautions will have to be followed by the devotees during the main rituals on November 20 evening and November 21 morning this year. The festival is generally marked by huge gatherings.

The guidelines have been issued to avert the chances of a spike in COVID-19 cases. These precautions will ensure the safety of people amid the pandemic who would otherwise gather in various water bodies across Jharkhand, the order stated. Among other measures, people are also banned from organising musical or cultural programme near the water bodies during the Chhath festival, HT reported. “It is not possible to ensure the compliance of national directive of social distancing norm while performing Chhath Puja in waters of public ponds, lakes, rivers, dams and reservoirs…The ritual of holy bathing in common water bodies and standing in water is a matter of concern as it will amount to sharing of water, thus enhancing the chances of spread of infection besides causing contamination of the water,” the order noted.

In Jharkhand, a total of 1,06,064 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 924 people have died of the infection so far.

Bihar govt to keep senior citizens and kids away from Chhath ghats

Meanwhile, Bihar government, too, has asked senior citizens and children below ten years not to visit the Ganga or any river ghats for Chhath celebration, TOI reported. The state home department also imposed bans on organising fair, religious events like ‘jagran’ or cultural event across the state during the Chhath festivities, to be held from November 17 to 21 this year.

A total of 2,26,916 people have tested positive for COVID-19 cases in Bihar so far, of which 1,184 have succumbed to the infection.

Earlier, on November 10, the Calcutta High Court (HC) banned Chhath Puja processions across West Bengal. The Delhi government has also declared that public celebrations near water bodies will not be possible this time.

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

Feature Image Credit: First Cry Parenting

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