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Odisha bans Holi celebrations in public places across State

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Friday ordered a ban on ‘Holi’ celebration and related rituals in public places throughout the State on March 28 and 29 saying the festival have a potentiality to cause spread of Coronavirus.

“People may celebrate ‘Holi’ with family members in their houses only and not in any public places including public roads,” the State Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) said in a notification.

“The sacred festival of ‘Dolayatra’ and ‘Holi’ are approaching and people usually congregate and get in touch with each other to celebrate the festivals and play colours during which use of face masks and physical distancing norms are not able to be adhered to and such congregations have a potentiality to cause spread of the virus,” the SRC notification read.

The SRC said the decision to impose the ban on gatherings during the festival is taken in the interest of the general public and for containment of the spread of Covid-19, adding congregation for celebration of ‘Dolayatra’ and associated religious and cultural congregations shall not be allowed in public throughout the State.

The religious rituals in temples will continue as usual with strict adherence of Covid protocols and Collectors and Municipal Commissioners may impose appropriate restriction on entry of devotees into temples and celebrations in temples and religious places considering the local conditions, the notification said.

“’Dola Melan’s if any, may be allowed with appropriate number of participants as decided by the Collectors/ Muncipal Commissioners in their respective jurisdictions with strict adherence of Covid appropriate behaviour and norms,” it added.

“Any person found violating this order shall be punished under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and other relevant laws,” the SRC letter stated.

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