The Mumbai Police on Thursday issued an order prohibiting the assembly of four or more people in the city during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
The restriction imposed under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code will stay in effect from September 10 to September 19.
The Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which begins from Friday, is a 10-day affair. The festival is widely celebrated in Maharashtra and devotees typically gather in large number in public spaces.
However, in Thursday’s orders, the Mumbai Police have banned processions and barred devotees from visiting pandals.
“In the past few days, Covid-19 cases have been rising in Mumbai,” the city’s Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said in a video message released on Thursday.
He added: “To avoid a bigger spike and keeping in mind the health of the public, the police and other departments will enforce the conditions laid down by the government.”
The city’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also issued a set of guidelines. The civic body said that all prominent puja pandals will be making arrangements for “digital darshan”, so that devotees can watch the festivities at their homes.
The municipal body also barred processions and ordered that a maximum of five organisers will be allowed at pandals.
The restrictions came after earlier this week, Maharashtra chief minister and health minister urged people to stay at homes during the festival.
Earlier this week, both the ministers and Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar warned citizens about possibility of the third wave of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Tamil Nadu government also extended a ban on public festivities till October 31, NDTV reported. Chief Minister MK Stalin urged people to stay at their homes.
“Though the daily tally is low, some districts are recording higher numbers,” he said. “Celebrate festivals at home. Avoid crowded places and travelling by public transport.”
Earlier this week, the Karnataka government permitted Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in districts where the Covid-19 positivity rate is less than 2%, the Hindustan Times reported.