New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus pandemic, all social distancing rules were violated in Buxar district of Bihar on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra Monday.
Crowds of hundreds thronged more than a dozen ghats in Buxar, the Lok Sabha constituency of Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey, to take a dip in the Ganga.
People didn’t even wear masks, which has been made a mandatory health protocol in the wake of the pandemic.
Local residents told ThePrint the Ramrekha ghat saw the largest crowd on the occasion.
“As places of worship were shut since the last two-and-a-half months, people have not been able to visit places of their faiths. As soon as the lockdown was eased, huge crowds gathered at ghats of the Ganges on Ganga Dussehra,” Ramji, a social worker who has helped many people during the lockdown in Buxar, told ThePrint over the phone.
Ganga Dussehra marks the day when goddess Ganga is believed to have descended on Earth. On this day, people take a dip in the holy river and seek blessings.
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‘Confusion among people over guidelines’
On flouting of social distancing norms, Ramji said people have to realise the coronavirus crisis isn’t over yet, and larger the crowd at public places, the bigger will be the crisis.
“Given the circumstances, people should observe religious rituals at home because the virus has no religion. Only then can the danger be averted,” he added.
Buxar District Magistrate Aman Samir told ThePrint: “According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs, religious places are supposed to open from 8 June, but there must be confusion about the order which is why people gathered to celebrate Ganga Dussehra.”
Samir said in each phase of the lockdown, there has been some confusion among the people regarding the guidelines.
“We have briefed the local media on the subject. The sub-divisional magistrate has been given the orders to remove the crowds and to explain the guidelines to the people properly,” he added.
When ThePrint contacted Choubey’s office, his staff declined to comment on the matter.
Buxar is known as the place of Maharshi Vishwamitra, who is believed to be the guru of Lord Ram. It is also believed that Buxar was where Ram received his early education. The district attracts pilgrims from all over the country and the rest of Bihar.
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