Decision taken in view of pandemic; proceedings will be telecast live on Saturday and Sunday: Bedi
Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Thursday said the Sani Peyarchi festival would be held as a low-key event at the Thirunallar Sri Saneeswaran shrine of Sri Dharbaranyeswara Swamy Devasthanam in Karaikal, on December 27 and 28, in deference to a directive issued by the Madras High Court on Wednesday, advising strict enforcement of the COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The High Court had issued the directive in response to a public petition, seeking the cancellation of events scheduled from December 27 to February 12, in view of the pandemic.
Ms. Bedi visited the temple with Collector Arjun Sharma, Deputy Collector Adarsh Moorthy, Secretary of Hindu Religious Institutions Sundaramoorthy and the petitioner, Nathan, and arrived at a consensus on changes that could be made to the arrangements. Proceedings will be telecast live on Saturday and Sunday, Ms. Bedi said. The entry of pilgrims will be staggered to avoid crowding and the number of devotees will be capped at 200, at any given time, as permitted under the national guidelines. Devotees will be permitted entry only in batches, with intermittent breaks for cleaning floors, railings of queue barriers and other spots.
It was also decided to adopt the pattern followed by Sabarimala for entry. Mr. Sharma said only those with medical certificates indicating that they had tested negative for COVID-19, 48 hours prior to the visit, would be permitted darshan. Everyone must wear masks, adhere to distancing norms and follow other safety protocol. Those flouting protocol will be fined, he said.
Downloading of the Aarogya Setu app and other pre-requisite safety norms, as considered necessary by the district administration are required for entry. Specific SOPs will be framed for shops/markets, hoteliers and others.
On its part, the district administration had reasoned in the High Court that Sani Peyarchi festivities cannot be cancelled now as it would be an infringement on the people’s right to worship.
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