With the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic looming over festivities, a section of the Ram Leela committee has constituted a special team to explore ways to observe the ritual affairs of Ram Leela. The team is set begin the task at least two months before the festival of Vijayadashmi. The six-member team will interact with the registered Ram Leela Committees in Chandigarh to chalk out a plan. The team has said that if the administration does not allow Ram Leelas to happen, they will seek permission for merely performing of arti (worship) of Lord Ram for 10 days.
Ashwani Sharma, secretary of one of the oldest Sri Ram Leela Committee Parade Ground, Sector 17, said, “Tough circumstances are ahead. Indications are there that the committees will not allow the Ram Leela events, but we have started the process to find out other ways. Visualization Ram Leela is in our mind, but we cannot encourage people to come in public places to watch the acts. Ram Leela is a ritual. Religious sentiments are attached with the concept of Ram Leela.”
There are a total of 50 Ram Leela committees registered with the UT administration in Chandigarh. Most of the committees were allocated stages, spaces in public parks by the Municipal Corporation for the 10-days-long Ram Leela event, which usually begins 10 to 12 days before the festival of Vijayadashami or Dusshera. This year, Vijayadashami will be observed on October 25, as per which, Ram Leela would begin around October 15.
Paramjit Singh, General Secretary of Joint Ram Leela Organisation, said, “We have decided to make a demand before the UT administration that if Ram Leelas are not allowed, administration should give us permission for merely performing the Arti (worship) of Lord Ram on the stage for continuous 10 days. Indeed, all norms related to social distancing will be followed, there will be no mass gathering, face masks would be worn, and all others rule will be strictly followed.” Joint Ram Leela Organisation represents at least 15 Ram Leela committees. Another office bearer of the organisation, Ravish Gautam said, “We are sure that within two months we will find different ways to observe Ram Leelas without inviting crowds and byfollowing social distancing.”
A senior police officer said, “Local intelligence wing is responsible for communicating with the office bearers of Ram Leela Committees.”
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