As the number of coronavirus cases in Uttar Pradesh goes up to 13, the Yogi Adityanath government on Tuesday announced that all examinations including state board and university and competitive exams have been postponed until April 2. However, the Ram Navami Mela, which is scheduled to be held in Ayodhya from March 25 to April 2 is still on schedule. Over 10 lakh people are expected to attend the mela which involves taking dip in the Saryu river and darshan at Ram Lalla and other temples.
The government’s move to go ahead with the mela is being criticised in several quarters. The yogi government is being blamed for playing Hindutva card amid the coronavirus crisis.
Critics have a point. Ayodhya is of utmost importance for CM Yogi in particular and BJP and other right-wing groups in general which have led the Ram Janmbhumi temple movement for decades. The Hindutva outfits are working hard to make this fair a grand affair to encash their success as it is being celebrated first time after the supreme court verdict. Moreover, on 25 March the Ram Lalla idol will be shifted from tent to a temporary temple, an occasion which CM is expected to attend. VHP’s Ram Mahotsav from 25 March to 8 April at 2.85 lakh places including Ayodhya would add the grandeur to the Mela. Anuj Kumar Jha, district magistrate of Ayodhya says, “We are taking all precautions for the mela. All temples are being cleaned and posters are being displayed in villages to spread awareness about the disease.”
Earlier, while speaking about education institutes, an official said, “The schools affiliated with the CBSE and other boards and their board exams will follow directives issued by their apex bodies as they don’t come under the purview of the State,” an official clarified. The State cabinet on Tuesday has also extended the closure of educational institutions, swimming pools, water parks, gyms, multiplexes and discos etc till April 2 to avoid public gathering and curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 which has killed more than 6,600 people across the world. CM Yogi Adityanath also issued directives that all tourist places in the state will remain closed till March 31. All public meetings and celebrations have already been cancelled or postponed.