No regard for COVID-19 norms? Shocking Holi revelry in parts of country amid rising cases

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: It was a mixed bag for Holi celebrations on Monday. While some parts of northern states saw muted celebrations, other areas saw no dampening of spirit, with youth gathering in large numbers and ignoring all Covid-19 protocols.

Recent research has pointed to an increase in coronavirus cases among the 18-45 age group in the second wave of infections the country is currently experiencing.

In Punjab & Haryana, coronavirus restrictions forced people to stay indoors.

In Chandigarh too, people celebrated the festival at home as the administration prohibited the celebrations at public parks, Sukhna Lake and the Sector 17 Plaza. Clubs and hotels were also barred from holding any gathering.

The coronavirus pandemic cast its shadow also on the Holi celebrations in parts of Uttar Pradesh with roads wearing a deserted look and people preferring to stay indoors, celebrating the festival with their family members.

In Lucknow, the district administration had on March 23 said in view of the Covid-19 situation, rain dance parties, open dance programmes and other public gatherings had been prohibited till further orders.

The permission given earlier for all such type of parties was also cancelled.

However, pictures show massive crowds celebrating the festival in Vrindavan and Gorakhpur. Media reports also indicated that elderly people participated in the revelry in some places.

India reported 68,020 new daily infections on Monday — a significant rise from below 9,000 in early February. Mumbai reported more than 6,900 new cases — a record for the city of 20 million and more than double last year’s peak.

In Rajasthan, while most people celebrated at home, youngsters could be seen moving around in groups spraying colours at each other.

In Mumbai, a large number of people, most of them without masks, gathered on a road in Mahim area of Mumbai on Monday morning and celebrated Holi while dancing to loud music, in violation of the Covid-19 guidelines.

Around 100 to 150 revellers  came out of their homes to celebrate on the road located in Mahim Koliwada, even as police officials present there apparently did nothing to stop them.

Some women danced to loud music, while a few persons in the crowd were seen wearing PPE suits.

A police official said they asked the people to stop the music and go back to their homes, but they did not pay heed to the advice.

Later, Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranay Ashok and other senior police officials reached the spot and stopped the revelry.