Restrictions on Holi celebrations in Madhya Pradesh as Covid-19 cases surge
Authorities in Madhya Pradesh have banned Holi celebrations across 11 districts at public places and ordered the closure of shops and religious places on Monday when the festival will be celebrated amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in the state. The state recorded 2,091 Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest over the last six months.
Only “symbolic celebrations” for Holika Dahan will be allowed on Sunday night in 11 districts including Indore and Bhopal. Seven of the state’s districts have reported 75% of the total Covid-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh.
The state government also Friday announced a lockdown on Sunday in Gwalior, Ujjain, Vidisha, and Narsinghpur in view of the surge.
In Bhopal, 425 Covid-19 cases were reported on Friday.
Bhopal collector Avinash Lavaniya said their priority is the safety of people and they should understand this. “The lockdown will be started from 9 pm on Saturday and continue till 6 am on Monday. But there will be a ban on unnecessary gathering and movement of people on Monday.”
Indore collector Manish Singh said the decision was taken for the safety of people as the virus is spreading very fast and seven people have been found to have been infected with the UK strain, which spreads faster.
The Indore district has recorded 612 cases.
In a tweet, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kailash Vijaywargiya called the restrictions on celebrations “a very objectionable decision”. “The administration should review this decision. They hurt the religious sentiments of people.”
Congress leader Vinay Bakliwal echoed him. “The BJP government is hurting religious sentiments. Holika Dahan is not just a part of the celebration but a symbol of ending evil. We will do Holika Dahan and for that, we are ready to go to jail.”
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he was not in the favour of lockdown and urged people against gathering for Holi celebrations in large numbers. “I have to follow emergency religion to save the lives of people as positive cases are increasing every day and to contain the spread, I have to take tough decisions. I request people to celebrate festivals at their homes.”