By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], Mar 20 (ANI): The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has cancelled the Shobha Yatras and rath yatras it had planned to celebrate on the first Ram Navami post-Ramjanmbhoomi verdict. The decision has been necessitated by the health hazards social gatherings pose in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to this, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh-affiliate will have a quiet ceremony of shifting Ram Lalla to the new fibreglass structure so that construction of the temple could be expedited.
Speaking to ANI, VHP international working president Alok Kumar said that all big processions planned to celebrate Ramjanmbhoomi verdict, mandating construction of Ram temple, have been postponed and cancelled as of now. This would take place on March 25.
"We have asked people in small groups to congregate in their local temples and pray. No big gatherings have been planned, " added Kumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday cautioned against social gatherings as he called the current situation of virus spread as more grave than that World War I and World War II. He also appealed the government to exert self-discipline and observe Janta curfew for a day on March 22.
Milind Parande, secretary-general, VHP said that norms set by states as guidelines to combat COVID-19 will be followed in letter and spirit. The duration of the celebration process is between March 25, the first day of the new year by the Hindu calendar till April 8.
"We have asked our 'kaaryakartas' not to take out shobha yatras and rath yatras. This is what we had planned before the coronavirus outbreak. It was supposed to take place in two lakh villages. We have downsised the number of people but the maximum number of villages will be covered. Only a small bunch of people would gather to celebrate Rama Navami. We will follow the norms and rules set by each state and we will take care of legal aspect as well for these small gatherings," added Parande.
As for the ceremony of shifting Ramlalla to a temporary structure is concerned, it is looked after by Ramjanmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust.
There are lakhs of believers who gather every year in Ayodhya to celebrate Ram Navami. And that many are expected to witness the ceremony of shifting Ramlalla to the temporary fibreglass structure.
VHP chief Kumar says they have not invited anyone and would respect the guidelines issued by the UP government in wake of the coronavirus spread.
"We know people come to Ayodhya but we have not invited anyone. In fact, even I would not be going for the ceremony if Ramlalla being shifted to the nearby place," added Kumar.
The Supreme court on November 9 last year delivered the verdict in favour of Ram temple construction and asked the Centre to have a trust in place which would take over the task of temple construction. (ANI)