New Delhi: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has instructed officials to ensure that Chhath Puja this year is not performed at public places, river banks and temples in Delhi, citing the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the National Capital.

An order issued by Chief Secretary and (DDMA) executive committee chairman Vijay Dev on Tuesday issued directions to all district magistrates (DMs) and deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) for strict compliance and to encourage people to celebrate Chhath at their homes during the pandemic.

It also directed the DMs and DCPs to hold meetings with religious and community leaders as well as Chhath Puja Samitis before the festival to get their cooperation to maintain law and order and harmony, and to sensitise the public on the compliance of guidelines and instructions to combat COVID-19.

The situation of COVID-19 in Delhi was reviewed and it had been observed that there is a persistent rise in COVID-19 cases in NCT of Delhi in the recent period, the order stated.

Considering this, it has been decided that Chhath Pooja celebrations in the month of November 2020 may not be allowed in public places and people may be advised to celebrate the festival at their home only, it said.

Delhi BJP leader and former minister in the city government Kapil Mishra questioned the order and claimed it was issued as the AAP government failed to make adequate preparations for Chatth Puja.

“This order banning Chhath Puja in Delhi will not be obeyed, Arvind Kejriwal ji. The Delhi government, which was the first to open liquor shops in the country, cannot issue an order to stop Chhath Puja.  The AAP government banned Chhath Puja as it could not prepare for it. Chhath Puja will be performed,” Mishra said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Chhath Puja is celebrated in Delhi in a big way by the natives of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. The two-day festival, falling on 20-21 November this year, involves worship of the Sun God at a water body like a river, pond or tank.

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