In the wake of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the recent weeks across the country, several states and union territories have announced to ban public celebrations of upcoming Holi festival. This year, the festival of colours will be celebrated on March 29 (Monday). The central government has also issued a circular advising all states and union territories to impose restrictions days ahead of upcoming festival season, under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act.
India has recorded 47,262 new Covid-19 cases, taking the nationwide tally to 11,734,058, said the Health Ministry on Wednesday.
Here’s a list of states/union territories which imposed restrictions to curb the further spread of Covid-19:
Considering the rise in Covid-19 cases, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday announced that Holi celebrations, on March 28 and 29, will not be permitted in both private or public places. The civic body in a circular announced a ban on Holi celebrations in both private and public places. Action will be taken against violators under the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 and Disaster Management Act, 2005, it was stated.
Meanwhile, the district and civic authorities in Pune also announced that Holi celebrations in public and private places are banned. In an official order, district collector Rajesh Deshmukh said in light of the rise in cases of coronavirus, Holi celebrations in public spaces such as hotels, resorts and other public spots in the rural areas are banned. Housing societies are also not permitted to hold Holi celebrations on their premises on March 28 and 29, the order stated. The Pune Municipal Corporation has also banned celebrations in resorts, hotels, open spaces and housing societies within the city limits.
The Haryana government on Wednesday banned public celebrations of upcoming Holi festival due to Covid-19. During the past few days, Haryana has been reporting over 800 new cases daily.
“The Haryana government has banned public celebrations of Holi in view of (rise in number of cases of) corona..,” Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said in a tweet. Among the worst-hit districts which are witnessing a surge in cases include Gurugram, Karnal, Ambala and Panchkula.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Tuesday ordered that there will be no public celebrations in the national capital for upcoming festivals such Holi and Navaratri. Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev directed authorities to ensure strict compliance of the order.
“All authorities concerned will ensure that public celebrations and gatherings, congregations during upcoming festivals like Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Navaratri etc shall not be allowed in public places/public grounds/public parks/markets/religious places etc in NCT of Delhi,” Dev said in his order.
The Gujarat government also announced that permission won’t be granted for Holi celebrations in the state though the religious ritual of ‘Holika Dahan’ associated with the festival can take place with crowd restrictions. Holi falls on March 29 and Holika Dahan on its eve on March 28.
The government will only allow ‘Holika Dahan’, a pyre lighting ritual symbolizing the victory of good over evil on the eve of Holi, that too with a limited number of people in housing societies and villages, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said. Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, said people won’t be allowed to form crowds to throw colour at each other, a prime part of the boisterous celebrations associated with Holi.
“No permission is granted for celebration of Holi. Action will be taken against violators. However, I believe the people of Gujarat will follow rules and will not play Holi,” Patel said.
The Odisha government also banned Holi celebrations in public places this year, an official said. The order came in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases in Cuttack and Khurda districts.
The Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) in an order said, “Holi on March 28 and March 29 and related rituals shall not be observed in public places throughout the state.” People may celebrate Holi with family members in their houses but not in any public places including public roads, SRC P K Jena said in the order. The government has also put restrictions on “Dola” festival where people across the state take Lord Krishna and Devi Radha in palanquin called “Biman”.
6. Uttar Pradesh
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered testing people at all railway stations, airports, bus depots arriving for Holi celebrations from states facing a rise in Covid-19 cases. A prior approval is required to hold public programmes in the state. “Holi festivities like rain dance parties and other open dance programmes have been banned in the capital, permissions given to such programmes earlier have been withdrawn,” said District magistrate of Lucknow. Senior citizens above 60 years of age, children below 10, and those with co-morbidities issues have been advised not to participate in any public celebration.
7. Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh government has imposed lockdowns in Lockdowns have been imposed in the worst-hit cities of Indore, Bhopal, and Jabalpur. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has appealed to citizens to follow Covid-19 guidelines. He also asked people to exhibit caution during stating that “people should avoid crowded places and also stop taking part in festivities for some time. Even the Holi festival must be celebrated at home only.”
The Chandigarh administration has announced the cancellation of all Holi-related celebrations and banned all clubs and restaurants from organising any gathering. “The residents must celebrate the Holi festival at home while following appropriate Covid-19 protocol,” the administration announced via an official statement.