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Flouting Covid rules, devotees throng Punjab’s Baba Rode Shah shrine to offer liquor

Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered at the Shri Radha Rani temple in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura to celebrate 'Laddu maar Holi' on Monday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 24, 2021 1:01:44 pm
Baba Rode ShahDevotees being offered liquor at Baba Rode Shah shrine in Amritsar, Punjab. (Photo: ANI videograb)

Even as the Punjab government is scrambling to contain the surge in coronavirus cases in the state, hundreds of devotees, without facemasks, gathered at the Baba Rode Shah shrine in Bhoma village of Amritsar district to participate in the two-day annual fair, where customary liquor offerings are made.

In a video tweeted by news agency ANI, enthusiastic devotees are seen thronging the shrine to offer liquor as well as distributing it among themselves as ‘prasad’. Women are also seen dancing to the beat of dholaks outside the Dargah.

It is said that Baba Rode Shah, who belonged to Dhavaan village of Gurdaspur district, had left his family and settled in Bhoma village. Rode Shah, who according to legend, possessed mystical powers while being alive, asked for liquor as offering for curing illnesses. It is also believed that he distributed liquor among his disciples which became a tradition thereafter. Now, an annual two-day fair is held at his place of samadhi in Amritsar’s Bhoma village, and thousands of devotees converge at the place to pay their respects.

Similarly on Monday, thousands of people, most of them without facemasks, gathered at the Shri Radha Rani temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura to celebrate ‘Laddu maar Holi’

In another event in Mathura, women were seen beating men with sticks as part of ‘Lathmar Holi’ celebrations in Barsana on Sunday.

All these events witnessed blunt flouting of Covid-19 guidelines as none of the assembled people wore facemasks or followed social distancing norms.

The celebrations come as the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh governments have issued strict measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.

Amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the state, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh told Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week that stricter curbs would be in place in Punjab from March 18. The CM listed out the measures taken by his government to battle the ongoing second wave. He said that the state has imposed restrictions on social gatherings — maximum of 100 for indoor events and 200 for outdoor events. Nine districts have imposed night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am while other districts have been asked to assess the situation and take action accordingly.

With a fresh Covid-19 surge feared during the upcoming festive season, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday issued directions for “aggressive Covid tests” at airports, bus stations and railway stations, and said the Covid-19 vaccination drive would be intensified. As per the latest directions, no processions will be allowed during the festive season without the administration’s permission.

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