In a big development, amid rising cases of coronavirus, the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas has scrapped the Ram Navmi mela scheduled on April 2, as per sources. Moreover, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announced a ‘Janta Curfew’ on March 22 to check outbreak of coronavirus, the special puja ceremony at the Ram Janmabhoomi on Sunday has also been postponed.
The mela, draws lakhs of pilgrims from across the country, will be held from 25 March to 2 April. This special puja is being performed before the deity of Ram Lalla is shifted from the makeshift temple at Ram Janmabhoomi to another a pre-fabricated temple in the same premises on early on March 25. However, there will be no participation of public in these rituals and shifting of Ram Lalla also will not be a public event.
This comes as a big step amid warnings and concerns raised by administration. District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha had earlier told news agency PTI that the Uttar Pradesh government has notified the Epidemic Act and the district administration is being empowered to take all steps to stop coronavirus. Jha said the administration has printed 50,000 posters highlighting precautions against coronavirus and these are being pasted at public places. He added that the district administration is all prepared for the Ram Navami celebrations according to practice and will adopt all precautionary measures.
Meanwhile, the Chief Medical Officer of Ayodhya Ghanshyam Singh had advised that the Ram Navami mela be cancelled to save the public from coronavirus. Dr Vikasendu Agrawal, nodal officer of coronavirus, said mass gatherings are impossible and risky once the Epidemic Act is invoked.
"We have closed down shopping malls, cinema halls, swimming pools, gyms and schools in the state. It is very difficult to ensure that devotees wear masks or maintain a distance of 1.5 m from each other. It''s an impossible proposition," he said, adding he will talk to senior state government officials. "We will review the situation on March 22 and if the situation remains the same then I would suggest the government to avoid the gathering," he added.
Reacting to these suggestions, Ayodhya MLA Ved Gupta said, "We can't stop the devotees. They would be advised to wear masks and maintain a distance while conducting rituals." According to sources, the functionaries engaged with organising the mela feel it is impossible to screen lakhs of devotees.