BBMP is set to deploy marshals to monitor places of worship following complaints of little or no precautions against spread of COVID-19
Maha Shivaratri, which (March 11) heralds the arrival of summer, draws hundreds if not thousands of devotees to Shiva temples. However, visitors are worried as they have observed a lack of precautions in places of worship over the last few weeks.
For instance, a resident of Kanakapura Road went to a place of worship and was taken aback to see hundreds of people gathered there. “I was worried when I saw that COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, like mask wearing, maintaining social distance and frequent hand-washing and sanitising, was not being followed,” she said.
Others pointed that while marshals are being deployed at marriage halls, there are no similar checks at places of worship.
Addressing their concerns, N. Manjunath Prasad, Commissioner, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), told The Hindu that marshals have been directed to keep vigil over temples and places of worship where citizens are likely to gather. “Marshals are already monitoring marriage halls and party halls, and similar efforts will be taken up for temples in the city,” he said, and added that the civic administration will ensure that Maha Shivaratri is celebrated in a low-key manner.
Marshals had already identified places of worship where people are likely to gather in huge numbers, such as Gavi Gangadhareshwara temple, Halasuru Someshwara temple, Kadu Malleshwara temple, HAL Shiva temple. Chief Marshal Col. (retd.) Rajbir Singh said teams are in place to monitor the crowds.
The Bengaluru Rural district administration had directed tahsildars to ensure that gatherings in temples coming under its jurisdiction are restricted to a limited number of people. Deputy Commissioner Srinivasa K. said that given the increase in cases, the annual cart festival in Hoskote that was supposed to be held on Thursday had all but been cancelled. Orders had been issued for just the necessary ceremony and people would not be allowed to gather, he said.
For religious places in Bengaluru Urban jurisdiction, the district administration had designated municipal employees to ensure citizens follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and levy fines on violators, said J. Manjunath, Deputy Commissioner.
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