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Covid restrictions flouted: State books nearly 100 Hindu devotees, including a priest

Kerala state government has booked a hundred Hindu devotees of Varaikkal Devi temple for making offerings at the ‘Karkitaka Vavu Bali’ festival at Varakkal Beach in Kozhikode on Sunday (August 8). ‘Bali’ offerings (sacrificial rituals) were performed here by these people. Hindus who were performing a ritual in Kerala were subject to the Epidemic Diseases Act, a state law. Devotees were arrested for violating Covid restrictions, which have risen sharply in Kerala since Covid cases increased exponentially after the Communist government eased relaxation prior to the celebration of Bakri Eid.

According to police officials, the priest conducting the ritual was given clear instructions not to hold the offering at the beach, but he didn’t follow them. As reported, the authorities had warned against violating COVID-19 restrictions in the past. Many places in Kerala were deserted on Sunday due to the state’s restrictions, including Aluva’s ‘Sivarathri Manappuram’ on the banks of River Periyar and Thiruvallam Parasurama temple.

BJP members in Kerala have asked the Left Front government to spare the annual Hindu ceremony from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions so they can participate. Although the state government had eased lockdown curbs and allowed shops and other establishments to remain open six days a week, it refused to make an exception for this Sunday. The Communist government in the state has decided to limit the weekend lockdown to a single day, Sunday.

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In addition, the Pinarayi Vijayan government had eased restrictions for Eid-ul-Adha celebrations. The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala has given in to pressure from the Muslim community in the society and lifted lockdown restrictions from July 18 to July 21 for three days to celebrate the holiday of Bakrid, also known as Eid-ul-Adha. During a press conference held on July 17, the Kerala government announced relaxation for the Bakrid festival.

The highest number of new cases have been recorded in Kerala since restrictions were removed ahead of Eid celebrations. Besides Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 infections that took place during Kerala’s Eid events. As the Covid situation in the state got out of hand, the Central government had to step in. A team was sent to the state to assess the situation and deal with the crisis.

 

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