UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday released new sets of guidelines which reiterated that there should be a complete ban on organizing cultural and religious meetings in the state. As a result no procession shall be allowed on the occasion of Muharram in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Additional chief secretary to Government of Uttar Pradesh, Awanish Awasthi said, “The Protocol needs to be adhered to at every cost. The assembly of more than five people at one place has been banned.”
No procession should be allowed on the occasion of Muharram, in view of COVID19 pandemic: Uttar Pradesh Police pic.twitter.com/sTw7ZZk7RD
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Some members of the Shia community led by cleric Kalbe Jawad were protesting in Lucknow on Saturday evening, alleging that the administration was not allowing the sale of taziya. Their demands included that burial of taziya at Karbala should be allowed on the 10th day of Muharrum. The government assured that there was no restriction on observing Muharrum rituals at home. Similarly, setting up of pandals for Ganesh Puja has also been banned for the same.
Mukul Goel, The UP Directorate General of Police (DGP), ordered that Muharram should be celebrated alongside strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior. Goel further informed that during Muharram, displays of any kind of weapon will not be allowed. He has instructed police officials to take preventive action against anti-social and violent elements and to also keep an eye on social media for fake and provoking content.
Goel added “All the programs to be held on Muharram should be decided in the meeting of the peace committee.” He urged his officers to communicate with religious leaders for spreading awareness about Covid-19 and the need to celebrate Muharram indoors.
Adequate amount of police force are to be deployed in sensitive areas. The DGP has instructed, “Adequate number of police PAC force reserves should be kept in every district. Make plans to deal with every situation and rehearse them.”
In wake of the Pandemic, Yogi had batted for further increase in the quantum of testing and also on increasing the number of Covid beds across the state. The CM asked the officials to mainly focus on Lucknow, Prayagraj, Kanpur and Gorakhpur. It is no doubt that he is indeed a champion in handling the covid situation in the state by keeping everything under check.
The Central government had also asked the Supreme Court not to allow the states to organise the Kanwar Yatra to Haridwar in Uttarakhand while calling on the state governments to ensure the availability of Gangajal to ‘kanwariyas’. UP government’s decision not to allow religious processions during Muharram came after Kerala government’s decision to allow Bakrid celebrations which has turned out to be a super spreader.
Kerala government sets an example, of what not to do, for the rest of the country as it ended up becoming the biggest exporter of Covid. The damage has been done after lifting restrictions on Bakrid celebrations which has resulted in increasing fresh Covid-19 infections in the state. It won’t be very long until the infection would spread from this state to the rest of the country. And that is what Yogi is trying to avoid in UP by banning the Muharram processions as the pandemic rages on.
It is important to note that although much of the Yogi government’s tenure has been adversely hit by the Corona-induced economic crisis; state economy still seems to be on track. The Yogi government has successfully gone for a multi-pronged strategy in the state with a total focus on UP’s economy, health and infrastructure. Yogi sends a simple message to Kerala with his decision to ban Muharram processions this year- Just do it. Just like Kerala stands as a model of spreading Covid-19, UP stands as a model for combating it. By taking rational decisions and imposing necessary restriction,CM Yogi Adityanath, whilst battling a raging pandemic has turned out to be quiet successful.