Protests, election rallies are virus free, but Hindu festivals are Covid carriers: How Govts are harassing Hindus in the name of the pandemic

Image by Ritesh Tamrakar from Pixabay

The festive season is upon us, and with that, the season of intensified illogical Covid-19 restrictions have begun. Multiple states have issued a series of orders that clearly have nothing to do with the pandemic itself but only serve to inflate the ego of the Leviathan that is the Secular State of India.

The West Bengal Government has announced that like last year, no one will be permitted to enter pandals this year as well. It is the same state where politicians across all parties had gathered huge rallies for the assembly elections during the peak of second wave of the pandemic.

Not merely that, by-polls for the Bhawanipore constituency were held on the 30th of September which saw the gathering of huge crowds during the campaign. There were no Covid-19 restrictions observed for that. But during Durga Puja, the state will suffer the restrictions.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has gone several steps ahead with their restrictions for Navratri. They have decreed that Murthis cannot be taller than 2 feet for homes and 4 feet for public mandals.

Deciding the height of Murthis was not enough. BMC has also ordered that flowers and sweets have been banned for devotees at mandals and only five people are allowed to be present there.

Rajasthan has banned the sale and bursting of firecrackers between the 1st of October to the 31st of January, 2022.

Odisha has banned firecrackers for Diwali as well. Odisha had earlier in August imposed restrictions that could only be called crazy, along the lines of the restrictions BMC has imposed now. The state government had ordered that no Murthi could be taller than 4 feet, apart from other bizarre guidelines.

Meanwhile, Chhat Pooja has been banned in public places by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, the Chairman of which is the Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory.

The Delhi Government has also banned effigy burning during Dussehra, which is part of its larger ban on firecrackers. Earlier in September, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced a complete ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers.

Haryana, a BJP ruled state, has banned firecrackers in 14 districts of the state. While the restrictions have been imposed citing Covid-19 as an excuse, the measures clearly indicate that they have very little to do with controlling the pandemic itself. No state has taken any measure to control or restrict the gathering due to ‘farmer protests’.

Meanwhile, states have continued to witness huge crowds due to political rallies or protests of one sort or the other. Unless political parties have some incontrovertible evidence that only Hindu festivals spread Covid-19, such restrictions have no valid justification whatsoever.

The Covid-19 restrictions and dire warnings last year

It is pertinent to recall that dire warnings had been issued last year as well, claiming that the festive season could spark a new wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. Multiple states had issued such sermons and authorities had proclaimed that the expected gatherings at festivals posed a serious threat to public health.

But despite such warnings, Covid-19 cases saw a decline during the festive season and it was only in 2021, in April and May, that the second wave of the pandemic reached its peak. Even so, without issuing an apology for getting it wrong the previous year, authorities singled out the Kumbh Mela for blaming the second wave on, despite significant evidence that the ‘farmer protests’ all political parties had either tolerated or encouraged had played a much greater role.

This year, again without any significant evidence, political parties across the spectrum have decided to implement restrictions that are unscientific by all metrics. The announcement comes days after the Union Health Ministry urged states to enforce ‘Prompt and Effective Measures’ until the 31st October.

Rules for thee but not for Tikait Gang

Quite clearly, the restrictions are not about Covid-19. If political parties really cared about curbing the pandemic, they would have put an end to the ‘farmer protests’ first. This is about the tyrannical nature of the Secular State of India that seeks to enslave a community that it perceives as meek.

The manner in which the menace of stubble burning has been dealt with by numerous state governments provides some insight. After criminalising the practice because it causes air pollution, governments were very quick to fold and roll back their orders against it in the aftermath of the ‘farmer protests’.

Thus, quite clearly, all state governments have bent over backwards to placate the unruly mobs that have become the hallmark of the protests against the farm laws. There was no risk of Covid-19 then. But cometh the festive season, cometh the tyrannical inclinations of the Indian State and the oppressive restrictions that come along with it.

K Bhattacharjee: Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.