The chief priest of the Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya has gone into self-quarantine after one of his assistants tested positive for the coronavirus, The Times of India reported on Monday. With Satyendra Das in quarantine, his assistant Santosh Das has been asked to perform prayers at the Ram Janmabhoomi premises.
“As one of my assistants Pradeep Das tested Covid-19 positive on July 30, the [Ram Janmabhoomi] Trust asked me not to enter Ram temple premises for three days,” Satyendra Das told the newspaper. “Thus, I will not be performing bhoomi pujan [ground-breaking ceremony] as other priests have been engaged for that ceremony.”
The assistant priest, along with 16 police officers on duty in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh had tested positive on July 30. Pradeep Das is also one of the four who gives offerings to the deity every day. Reports had said that he was supposed to be part of the August 5 event.
The ground-breaking ceremony is slated to take place on August 5. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of the shrine.
Meanwhile, Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants in the Ayodhya case, has received an invite for the ground-breaking ceremony, ANI reported. “I believe it was Lord Ram’s wish that I receive the first invitation,” Ansari told the news agency. “I accept it. Hindus and Muslims live in harmony in Ayodhya. The temple’s land is being worshipped and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is coming for the event to Ayodhya.”
Ansari said the “fate of Ayodhya” will change after the Ram temple is built. He said the temple will generate employment opportunities for the people, and tourism will grow.
“The world rests on hope,” Ansari said. “I had said earlier that if there is a religious program and if they call me then I will go. There are Gods and Goddesses of every religion and every sect in Ayodhya. It is a land of saints and we are happy that the Ram temple is being built.”