Amid tight security, “Durga puja”, the biggest religious festival of the Hindus begins today (Thursday) in the capital and elsewhere in the country.
In the light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, after evening aroti, (a kind of worship,) no visitors will be allowed to enter the puja mandop to avoid gathering,Bangladesh Puja UdjapanParishad (BPUP) announced on Wednesday.On the occasion of the durga puja festival, police administration has taken an all-out security measure in around all puja mandops with the deployment of extra police and ansar men.
Police administration went for the tight security measures to maintain law and order situation, police headquarters sources said.
According to BPUP, this yearDurga Puja will be arranged at 30,225 temples across the country.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the number of puja mandaps decreased by 1,173 this year.
He said a total of 233 puja mandaps will arrange Durga Puja in the capital while the number was 237 last year.
Durga Puja will be arranged at 7014 temples in Dhaka division while at 3906 in Chattogram, 4689 in Khulna, 2646 in Sylhet, 1584 in Mymensingh, 1701 in Barishal, 5250 in Rangpur and 3435 in Rajshahi division this year.Bangladesh Puja UdjapanParishad sent out directives to puja celebration committees across the country.
There will be no programmes to celebrate the Kumari Puja in Dhaka as part of theDurga Puja.
However, no decision has been taken yet on the rituals of the BijoyaDashami, which involves mass gatherings and rallies, BPUP President MilonKanti Dutta said during a media briefing at the Dhakeshwari temple.
He said Kumari Puja is usually held on the eighth day of Durga Puja at Ramakrishna Mission in Dhaka. But there will be no Kumari Puja this year considering the coronavirus situation in Dhaka. However, it may take place in one or two areas outside Dhaka.
Hindu women play with red colour, known as ‘SindoorKhela’ as part of the last day of the 10-day puja celebrations. ‘Sindoor’ means to vermillion red colourand ‘Khela’ refers to play. It involves a gathering of people, which amid the Covid-19 pandemic, raises the risk of contagion.
On the other hand, Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee, general secretary of the council, said that in addition to the 26-point directive on celebrating Durga Puja sent to the puja celebration committees across the country, seven more directives have also been sent.
It was said that the temples or puja pavilions will have to be closed for the visitors by 9pm.
The incarnation (Bodhon) of the Goddess Durga will be held on October 21 (Wednesday) on MahaPanchami, a day before MahaSashthi at the temples across the country.
MahaSaptami puja will be performed on October 23 (Friday), MahaAshtami, Kumari Puja and Sandhi Puja on October 24 (Saturday) and MahaNabami Puja on October 25 (Sunday).
The festival will end with the immersion of the idols of the Goddess Durga on BijoyaDashami on October 26 (Monday).
“In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, health guidelines and other directives of the government will be strictly followed during the cerebration of the Durga Puja,” said NirmalChattarjee, BPUP general secretary.
According to the instructions, while entering the puja mandap, one has to maintain health guidelines, including social distancing, using hand sanitizer and wearing mask.
Hand washing facilities, sanitizers and thermal scanner should be ensured at the entry points of puja mandaps.
No procession will be allowed at the time of immersion of the goddess Durga. Prashad distribution, arati and cultural festivals should be avoided.
Earlier on October 4, the Home Ministry gave some instructions to ensure the security of the puja mandaps and maintain law and order.
The Puja Udjapan Committees have been asked to dial 999 for emergency help or support, if needed.