Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani | Parveen Negi/India Today Group/Getty Images
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leader L.K. Advani | Parveen Negi/India Today Group/Getty Images
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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, L.K. Advani, and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat cannot attend the bhoomi pujan ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya next week if the event follows the SOPs (standard operating procedures) issued by the health ministry for religious places in June.

According to the SOPs, “People above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home. Organisations managing the religious institutions to advise accordingly.”

The SOPs issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs this week as part of the Unlock 3.0 guidelines also advises people above 65 years of age to stay at home.

But the BJP brass invited for the ceremony — PM Modi (69), Murli Manohar Joshi (86), L.K. Advani (92), Bhagwat (69), RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi (73) and former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh (88) — are above 65 years of age.

Among the high-profile invitees, who meet the age criteria, are Vinay Katiyar, who is 65 years old, and Uma Bharti, who is 61.

The government’s Unlock 3.0 guidelines also ban religious congregations or large gatherings.

Meanwhile, a priest and 14 policemen posted at the Ram temple site have tested positive for Covid-19.

Also read: Ram temple ceremony a BJP-RSS event, party stealing credit — Congress over not being invited

‘SOPs already issued’

The government maintained that the Ram temple event will be held by following the SOPs already issued for religious gatherings.

Replying to a question from ThePrint on whether any guidelines were being issued to the government of Uttar Pradesh for organising the event, Rajesh Bhushan, OSD in the Ministry of Health, said: “Health ministry has already issued an SOP, which is in the public domain.

“When instructions were issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs during Unlock 2.0, we had issued multiple SOPs, one of which related to safe practices in religious places,” he added.

Elaborating on the SOPs, which were actually issued in the beginning of Unlock 1.0 in June, joint secretary Lav Agarwal said: “The SOPs lay down all measures, including social distancing, that need to be put in place so that such gatherings do not cause spread of infection.

“Our major aim for such social events should be to control the spread of infection, maintain the essential do gaj ki doori (distance of six feet or nearly 2 metres). The SOPs lay down how environmental sanitation should be ensured, how respiratory hygiene practices should be followed and the kind of orientation and precautions that the people attending the event need to be given,” he added.

According to the Unlock 3.0 guidelines issued on 29 July, all activities are allowed outside containment zones, except educational institutions, swimming pools, bars, restaurants, assembly halls etc. 

It also bars “social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions and other large congregations”. 

The guidelines say: “Dates for restarting the above activities may be decided separately and necessary SOPs shall be issued for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of Covid-19”.

SOPs for religious places 

The SOPs released on 4 June in the beginning of Unlock 1.0, specifically for religious places stated that the maintenance of a 6-feet distance in public places is mandatory “as far as feasible”. 

“Use of face covers/masks to be mandatory. Practice frequent hand-washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.

“Respiratory etiquette to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing of used tissues properly. Spitting should be strictly prohibited. Installation and use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.”

It forbade any distribution of prasad, asked religious places to organise frequent cleaning and staggering of visitors, and placing hand sanitisers and thermal scanners at the entrance.

Also read: Ram Temple foundation to have water, earth from ‘thousands of holy rivers, shrines’, says VHP


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  1. Ram Janmabhoomi Function: Home Ministry’s Standard Operating Procedures on places of religious worship violated. So? Modi has flouted Article 18 of the Constitution six times! It was Bandit Jabberlal Neckscrew who over rode the objections of the Constituent Assembly on Schedule 9 and other exceptions to secularism, democracy and republicanism by proclaiming, “Show me the person and I shall show you the law”

  2. law breakers of their own are ruling the nation. Where is the SC which has to ensure the rule of law in India. oH! God help the People
    to remove them from the earth!

  3. Modi ji`s new BJP rule book contains opening sentence “Rules are are for fools ” then a question answer “What is Rule ?” Reply” Show me the man , I will tell the rule”.Here Follows Hindi saying ” KANOON AUR NAITIKATAA KA SAHAARAA KAAYAR AUR BUJDIL LIYAA KARATE HAI” Further King (now replace it with Prime Minister ) can do no wrong. . Now comes Modi Ji ” Take it as golden opportunity of doing all misdeeds and wrongs to serve selfish ends when masses are in great trouble ,miseries.
    The People must understand that Bhoomi Poojan by all super man and unchallenged authority of BJP on 5th of August 2020 will by no means is going to be Hindu religious performance . It will be great event of celebration of Victory of BJP over Muslim community. It will be thanks giving by Hindu priests, saints ,Mahants and sadhoos to Modi Ji who managed to take judgement in favour of Hindus . It is not for common people not for nation and not for Hindus , It is purely Modi ji`s function.

  4. Some things wrong with Mr. Gupta? He is expecting this bunch to follow rules and regulations. First of all it is said its unconstitutional for Prime minister to attend such religious ceremonies. Then Covid rules and third with L. K. Advani a rule he would love to break. So when whole system is based on breaking rules its ok to break this one too.

  5. The VIP invitee list to Ayodhya, is literally the who’s who of the rogues gallery ! Despite allowing the temple , the SC could not help terming the demolition that brings about this pujan a CRIMINAL ACT !
    As a man who has brought much shame to the office of the PM of India through his overt and covert support to criminal acts of Sangh Parivar cadres and earlier too had no qualms indulging in criminal acts through well rewarded proxies as the CM in Gujarat, he will definitely flout the SOP !
    Modi is a well programmed law breaker of the Sangh and that is not going to change in his lifetime as he has no benefit of regular education or a family upbringing ! He cannot let go of the 56″ opportunity ! He does not have the courage to even name China or go anywhere close to the LOC, but
    Ayodhya is a cowards ring and he is the ring master !

  6. I think this journalist has to go to home he is a dumb modiji already visited leh-ladkah and Bengal also

  7. In the end, it looks like Uddhav has given the wisest advice on this issue , calling for a virtual Bhumi Pujan.
    Yet he is lampooned by the BJP, which is a party that promulgates SOPs, rules and is the first to break them.

  8. no law of the land applies to these people. they are all above law. Modi as PM can attend through video as he has been doing. but who will want to avoid this mega publicity exercise least of all the Sangh. and companrison of independence day flag hoisting with bhoomi pujan is preposterous to say the least.

  9. People above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are “” ADVISED “” to stay at home. It translates as non binding.

  10. Abantika ji… How many puff of ganja you took before writing the article?
    It’s not Modi.. It’s “Pradhan Mantari Modi” .

    • Pradhan Mantari is an official title.

      Some describe him as he describes himself -chowkidar Modi.

      Some say ‘genocidist Modi’ based on his 2002 achievement.

      Some call him chai wallah Modi according to his past work experience.

      Some call him ‘Hindu coward Modi’ after Galwan.

  11. Even Independence Day comes in restricted period only, do you mean Prime Minister should not host the national flag on Independence Day, ABANTIKA GHOSH try to use your brain if you have one. dont publish stupid articles without sense.

    • barring PM, who are these people? Murli Manohar Joshi (86), L.K. Advani (92), Bhagwat (69), RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi (73) and former Uttar Pradesh CM Kalyan Singh (88)?

    • They should follow the laws they issued to others. Otherwise, we have to say Hindus are spreading Covid. India is heading to be the topper in Covid with no sign of even peaking.

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