Religious places in the Capital were permitted to reopen for devotees from Friday till mid-October, subject to strict adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) said in an order. All places of worship in the city were closed for devotees for over five months following the imposition of the lockdown during the second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Large gatherings and congregations, however, were not allowed by the authority, which, on Thursday, had given the go-ahead for holding Durga Puja celebrations and festive events such as Ramlilas. The standard operating procedure for religious places include allowing entry to only asymptomatic persons, use of face masks, avoiding common mats for prayers and staggering devotees.
The order also reiterated that Chhath Puja be observed by devotees at home and activities related to the festival would not be allowed at public places.
Tiwari alleges ‘bias’
North East Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari accused the Delhi government and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of exhibiting a discriminatory approach towards the significant Poorvanchali population residing in the city by prohibiting the Chhath Puja and issued an ultimatum to both demanding a rethink.
Mr. Tiwari chaired a meeting with representatives of Chhath Puja committees to chart the way forward in demanding that the government allow the observance of the festival at public places like other festive events. While addressing the representatives, Mr. Tiwari questioned why Delhi was the only city to “prohibited Chhath Puja”.
“1.80 crores have also got the COVID vaccine in Delhi…Weekly market, metro, bus, theatre, liquor contracts etc. are all open.. Then why can people not celebrate Chhath by following COVID rules @ArvindKejriwal? Meet immediately and give solution to this...[sic]” Mr. Tiwari tweeted.