Delhi Ramlila committees begin preparations, await govt nod for performances amid COVID-19 pandemic

By: |
September 2, 2020 5:14 PM

However, he said they are awaiting permission from the city government and the protocols that it will be put in place if the Ramlila performances are allowed.

Rajesh Gehlot, the chief patron of Dwarka Shri Ramlila, said they have written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal so that at least they are granted permission.Rajesh Gehlot, the chief patron of Dwarka Shri Ramlila, said they have written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal so that at least they are granted permission. (File image)

Ramlila committees in the national capital have begun preparations for the 10-day celebrations ahead of the Dussehra festival in October, but are unsure whether the government will allow the performances, which draw a large crowd, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramlila committees feel that even if at a small scale, they should be allowed to organise the performances this year taking into consideration the beginning of the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, where many believe Lord Ram was born.

“This is the year when the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan was held. A few days ago, we had a meeting with Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta and he said that ‘you should ensure that there are not more than 100 people present when Ramlilas happen’. But the problem is that in most cases, there are more than 100 artistes who are part of the Ramlila, said Anil Garg, general secretary of Shri Ram Dharmik Leela Committee, Tri Nagar.

However, he said they are awaiting permission from the city government and the protocols that it will be put in place if the Ramlila performances are allowed.

“I have another Ramlila in Pitampura where we show ‘Sampoorn Ramayan’ in three-and-a-half-hours daily and it has theatre actors. We will try and ensure that at least we can do that. For the one in Tri Nagar, where the Ramlila begins in the evening and ends late in the night, we will try and see whether we can do it on a smaller stage and at a smaller scale, he added.

Arjun Kumar of Lav Kush Ramlila Committee near the Red Fort said that if the government gives permission for a gathering of 100 people, “we might just worship Lord Ram every day”.

“There are almost 100 office-bearers of the Ramlila Committee. It will be difficult to maintain social distancing among actors and it will be difficult to make them act wearing masks. We will see how it goes, he said.

Kumar said they have applied for the venue and it remains to be seen whether the government will allow it and on what conditions. The Ramlila committees will also require permission from Delhi Police.

“Whatever will be done will be on a smaller scale. Also, if the permission is not given, we might telecast last year’s Ramlila on our YouTube channel. If permission is given and there is no possibility of a gathering, we will tie up with a religious channel and telecast this year’s Ramlila there,” he said.

Rajesh Gehlot, the chief patron of Dwarka Shri Ramlila, said they have written to Lt Governor Anil Baijal so that at least they are granted permission.

“We have sought a time of three days and in that we will showcase the Ramlila which usually spans 10 days. We are even ready if they give us permission for Dussehra celebrations. We are already prepared and are awaiting the permission. We will follow all the COVID-19 protocols, he added.

This year, if the celebrations go ahead, the Ramlila committees plan to burn an effigy of coronavirus, along with the effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad.

Delhi has so far recorded over 1.77 lakh coronavirus cases and the death toll from the disease stands at 4,462. The city is again witnessing a spike in cases.

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