Updated: October 12, 2021 9:50:19 pm
Amid Delhi BJP’s protests in the city against the Delhi government for not allowing Chhath puja celebrations in the city because of Covid-19, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to hold a meeting with health experts and come out with guidelines to celebrate the festival.
“I request the Centre to hold a discussion with health experts and other related persons and come out with guidelines to celebrate Chhath soon so that all north Indians who celebrate the festival can do so keeping in mind their beliefs as well as safety,” Sisodia wrote.
In September, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), which is headed by L-G Anil Baijal, had issued an order banning the celebration of Chhath in public places.
“Fairs, melas, food stalls, jhoolas, rallies and processions will not be permitted during festivals in Delhi. Chhat pooja celebration shall not be allowed in public places and people are advised to celebrate the same at their homes,” the DDMA had said in an official order. Chhath celebrations start in the second week of November.
The Delhi BJP has been attacking the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government continuously for the past week over the ban. A protest was also held outside the house of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday over the issue.
According to estimates, over 30 per cent of Delhi’s population is originally from Purvanchal and the festival has gained much significance over the years. Political parties have also tried hard to woo Purvanchali voters and before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the government actively engaged with the population and increased the number of ghats set up across the city and along river banks to celebrate the festival. The arrangements were made both by the AAP government as well as the BJP-headed municipal corporations. The issue has also become important as municipal elections are due in the city early next year.
In his letter on Tuesday, Sisodia wrote, “Last year too, keeping in mind the dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, Chhath celebrations were not allowed keeping in mind the decision taken by the Government of India.”
While the DDMA had imposed similar restrictions last year as well, the directions flowed from the Centre’s decision. This year, the Centre has not passed any particular restrictions so far.
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