The Karnataka government on Monday will take a decision on the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in the state after consultation with the expert committee.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is in a fix as the BJP and the opposition legislators including those of Congress party, MP’s and pro-Hindu organisations are demanding to allow the festivities with minimum restrictions.
On the other hand Dr Devi Shetty, the Chairman of the state Covid Expert Committee had warned that if Covid guidelines are not followed in public programmes, the virus will definitely raise its ugly head.
Presently, the government has banned mass celebrations of Muharram and Ganesh Chathurthi festivals in the state in the backdrop of fears of Covid-19 spread.
BJP MP Pratap Simha has asserted that if Sunday prayers could be allowed in churches and mass prayers could be allowed in Masjids, restrictions on Ganesh Chaturthi are meaningless.
“I demand the government should allow celebrations of Ganesh festival in the state,” he said.
Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, a senior BJP leader said that no one could stop him from organising celebrations during Ganesh festival.
“The government cannot interfere with Hindu festivals. Let them shoot, I prefer to become a martyr by organising the Ganesh festival,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Pramod Muthalik, the founder of Sriram Sena attacked the government saying that there are no Covid fears while masses were gathered during the Jan Ashirwad yatra.
“I am warning the government. Sriram Sena has told the government to take a decision on Ganesh festival by August 26. Now, I give a deadline of August 30, if the government fails to take out restrictions on Ganesh festival, protests will be staged before the residences of all the MLAs across the state,” he threatened.
V. Sunil Kumar, the minister for Energy, Kannada & Culture stated that, the grand celebration of Ganesh festival is needed.
However, the government will also have to keep in mind about Covid fears, preparations and expert opinion.
Dr Devi Shetty, the Chairman of Covid Expert Committee said that there is no harm in conducting ‘puja’.
“If people are gathering without taking precautions and following Covid guidelines, even if it is a religious function or worshipping god, the Covid infection will rise. No vaccines will work,” he underlined.
Meanwhile, the expert committee has warned the government that the next four weeks are crucial for the state of Karnataka.
The Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated on September 10.
The celebrations will start from the beginning of the month and continue till the end of the month, if government permits, sources said.
The committee has recommended the government to implement tough restrictions while allowing the festival.
It has also recommended monitoring the positivity rate in all districts, especially those bordering Kerala and Maharashtra, the sources said.