The Delhi Police wants you safe during the Commonwealth Games (CWG), even if it means locking you away for two weeks. After asking popular markets and schools to remain shut during the Games citing ‘security reasons’, the city police now have Ramlila celebrations on the radar.
“We are asking that the fairs associated with the Ramlila be rescheduled. The fairs have no religious relevance and could be organised three or four days later,” Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S Dadwal told reporters at the Police Headquarters on Tuesday.
The Commonwealth Games that will be held in Delhi from October 3 to 14 will coincide with the annual Ramlila fairs organised throughout the capital around October 7.
Needless to say, organisers of the religious-cum-community events are fuming.
“How can the commissioner say the fairs associated with these events are irrelevant? The fairs are what draw the people to them,” said Subhash Goyal who organises Chandni Chowk’s popular Luv-Kush Ramlila.
Goyal argued that the fairs transform the religious nature of the event to that of a community festival.
“It is the fairs that draw the crowd, especially children, to the Ramlila.
A child may not be interested in reading the Ramayana, but once he or she gets drawn to the Ramlila by the rides or the good food he is automatically drawn to watch the larger than life enactment of the epic on stage, irrespective of religion,” Goyal said.
Commissioner Dadwal however, was of the opinion that the Games were of much more importance to the city.
“We are having an event of national importance and people are more worried about holding 'melas' (fairs),” he said.
The organisers said that the Games were important in their own right but incomparable to traditional celebrations that had their origins in history.
“The Games have their origin in the British Empire, which is new when compared with the history of our religion,” said Goyal.
Dheeraj Bansidhar, who organises the Dharmik Ramlila at the parade grounds, said, “We are yet to receive any intimation from the Delhi Police. How and why will they stop us from organising our Ramlila? We shall discuss the matter with Commissioner Dadwal himself,” he said.