Maharashtra devotees defy ban, walk through forests to reach Shiva temples in MP
- The SP said most of the devotees, who approached by road in vehicles, were sent back, but devotees, in small groups reached the temples on foot from Nagpur.
A large number of devotees from Maharashtra travelled on foot through forest routes to reach ancient Shiva temples in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district to worship on the occasion of Maha Shivratri, defying restrictions put in place by the MP government in the light of rising number of Covid cases, said police.
The MP state government cancelled all fairs that are organised on the occasion of Maha Shivratri in Pachmarhi due to a spurt in the number of Covid 19 cases. The administration put up barricades and cordoned off the area to stop devotees from Maharashtra, who throng the famous Shiva temples in Hoshangabad district every year on Maha Shivratri. More than 500 additional police personnel were deployed for checking at the border. However, more than 1000 devotees from Maharashtra reached the famous ancient temples of Tilak Mahadev in Itarsi, Bade Mahadev and Jata Shankar in Pachmarhi through Satpura forest via Chhindwara, said Santosh Singh Gour, superintendent of police, Hoshangabad.
The SP said most of the devotees, who approached by road in vehicles, were sent back, but devotees, in small groups reached the temples on foot from Nagpur.
District administration made the arrangements for their thermal screening and RT PCR tests.
Hoshangabad sub-divisional magistrate Nitin Tale said, “We apprehended the devotees and asked them to return. However, most of them said someone in their family was ill and they were under oath to worship at the temple for their recovery, failing which, they may suffer. Since, it was a matter of emotions and devotion, a team of police and district administration accompanied such devotees to the temple and later sent them back to Maharashtra in vehicles.”
Police and district administration also put barricades in the forest to stop further movement of people on Thursday evening.