Hundreds celebrated Lathmar Holi in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. (File)
Haryana has joined the list of states which have banned Holi festival celebrations in the public like gatherings and processions, amid a continuing rise in COVID-19 cases across the country.
"In the light of the COVID-19 situation, public celebration of Holi will not be allowed in the state," Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij tweeted today.
हरियाणा सरकार ने कोरोना के मद्देनजर होली का त्योहार सार्वजनिक तौर मनाने पर रोक लगाई ।— ANIL VIJ MINISTER HARYANA (@anilvijminister) March 24, 2021
Holi 2021 will be a low-key affair across India as the Centre has asked all the states and Union Territories to take adequate measures to tackle the pandemic ahead of the festive season. From March-end, different festivals like Navratri, Shab e Barat, Chaitra Navratri, Ram Navami apart from Holi are lined up.
"...in view of upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr, etc., it is strongly advised that states may consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of these festivals and limit/do away with mass gatherings in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005," a letter from the centre read.
A bar was placed on the public celebrations of these festivals by the Delhi government on Tuesday which said safety measures for Covid should be rigorously observed in public places, especially in markets and malls. The government has also decided to do random testing of coronavirus across Delhi's airports, railway and bus stations.
Following Delhi's lead, Maharashtra's Mumbai also announced that Holi celebrations on March 28 and 29 will not be permitted in both private or public places.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday also banned processions or gatherings in public spaces without prior permission. Those above 60 years and below 10 - age groups experts say are most vulnerable to the virus - will not be allowed at all.
Other places which have put restrictions on Holi celebrations include Chandigarh, Gujarat and Odisha.
Public health experts are suspecting that the resurgence of the virus -- considered the emergent second wave of Covid in the country -- was triggered partially by mutant forms and also because of laxity in observing safety measures including the use of masks and social distancing.