- The DDMA announced on Tuesday that no public celebrations of Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri, and other festivals will be held.
- On Wednesday (March 24), India reported 47,262 coronavirus cases.
- The state of Maharashtra has the highest number of active coronavirus patients in the country.
As the daily count of Covid-19 cases continues to rise, the Centre on Wednesday released a circular under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act advising states and union territories to impose restrictions as festival season approaches.
In the coming months, a slew of festivals, beginning with Holi is scheduled to be celebrated. Although no restrictions on interstate travel have been imposed, several states have increased testing and surveillance in places of transit.
According to the health ministry’s dashboard, India recorded 47,262 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 11,734,058 across the country.
The states and union territories listed below have placed restrictions on public Holi celebrations:
The state of Maharashtra has the maximum number of active coronavirus patients in the country. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has taken this into account and indicated that no public or private Holi celebrations will be allowed on Sunday (March 28) and Monday (March 29). BMC also stated that those who violate the circular would face severe consequences under the Epidemic Disease Act of 1987 and the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
Pune’s city and district authorities have also followed the suit by banning Holi festivities in public and private spaces. According to Pune district collector Rajesh Deshmukh, Holi celebrations in public spaces such as hotels, resorts, and other public spots in rural areas are prohibited due to an increase in cases of coronavirus. On the 28th and 29th of March, housing societies are not permitted to hold Holi celebrations on their premises.
Haryana’s state government banned Holi celebrations in public spaces on Wednesday (March 24) due to the spread of coronavirus. The number of COVID-19 cases in Haryana has been steadily increasing.
“The Haryana government has banned public Holi celebrations in view of corona…” tweeted Home Minister of Haryana, Anil Vij. The pandemic has severely affected districts like Gurugra, Karnal, Ambala, and Panchkula.
3. Uttar Pradesh
The government of Uttar Pradesh has ordered that people coming for Holi celebrations from states where Covid-19 cases are on the rise be checked. At railway stations, airports, and bus terminals, tests will be performed. Prior approval is required for all public programmes in the state. Holi celebrations such as rain dance parties and other open dance programmes have been banned in the capital, according to the district magistrate of Lucknow, and permissions previously granted to such events have been revoked. The state government has requested senior citizens over the age of 60, children under the age of ten, and people with co-morbidities have also been urged to refrain from engaging in public celebrations.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) announced that no public celebrations of Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri, and other festivals would be held in parks, religious sites, public grounds, or markets within Delhi’s national capital territory. Chief Secretary Dev in an order said that during upcoming festivals such as Holi, Navaratri, Shab-e-Barat, and others, all authorities concerned will have to ensure that public celebrations and gatherings are not allowed in public places, markets, religious places, etc. in the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi.
On Wednesday, the Delhi government named malls, religious sites, metro stations, and movie theatres as super spreaders, instructing district magistrates to beef up surveillance in the affected areas.
5. Madhya Pradesh
The state of Madhya Pradesh has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases on a daily basis. Indore, Bhopal, and Jabalpur have all been put under lockdown. According to PTI, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has urged people to follow proper Covid-19 prevention measures. Chouhan urged people to exercise caution, saying, “People should avoid crowded places and also refrain from participating in celebrations for a period of time.” Even the Holi festival must be observed solely at home.”
Gujarat government has issued orders prohibiting public Holi celebrations. The religious ritual of ‘Holika Dahan’, however, is permitted with a limited audience and strict adherence to all rules. On March 28, Holika Dahan will take place.
The government will only allow a limited number of residents to participate in ‘Holika Dahan,’ a pyre lighting ritual, in housing societies and villages, according to Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. People will not be allowed to form crowds to play colour amongst themselves, he added.
In the districts of Cuttak and Khurda, the state has noticed a sharp increase in caseloads. This year, the Odisha government has outlawed Holi celebrations in public spaces, according to a state official.
“Holi on March 28 and 29 and related rituals shall not be observed in public places throughout the state,” the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) said in an order. People may celebrate Holi with their families in private spaces such as their homes, but not in public spaces such as public roads, according to SRC PK Jena’s order.
The “Dola” festival has also been restricted by the state government.
All Holi-related festivities have been cancelled by the Chandigarh administration, which has also barred all clubs and restaurants from hosting any celebrations. The administration issued an official statement saying, “The residents must celebrate the Holi festival at home while following proper Covid-19 protocol.”
Though the state has not formally banned any festivities, chief minister Bhupendra Baghel has urged the administration to be vigilant during Holi and ensure that all protocols are followed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.