Ayodhya: Priest of Ram Janmbhoomi, 16 cops, test coronavirus positive
In an unsavory turn of events, one priest of Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, tested positive for the highly-contagious coronavirus, reports said on Thursday. Along with the priest, said to be a part of the rituals, 16 police personnel, deployed for security, also tested positive. This comes days ahead of the grand ground-breaking ceremony, scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Months after historic dispute settled, date for ceremony was announced
After years of hustling in courts, Ram Lalla got a favorable verdict in the Supreme Court, when a constitutional bench said the disputed 2.77 acres must be given for temple's construction. The bench also ordered 5 acres of land must be given for mosque. Months of delay later, the trust, tasked with temple's construction, announced that the ground-breaking ceremony will be held on August 5.
Hosting ceremony in coronavirus-era was risky
The historic ceremony is scheduled to be held at a time when COVID-19 has ripped India apart. In Uttar Pradesh alone, 77,334 were infected and 1,530 died. The trust said it would host the ceremony while honoring all coronavirus-induced precautions. The guest's list was truncated to include merely 200 people and large screens installed to ensure believers don't miss out on the function.
Considering coronavirus pandemic, trust asked devotees to stay home
Only yesterday, the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra put out a series of tweets asking devotees to not turn up in Ayodhya for the event. "Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust urges all Shri Rambhakts not to get anxious to reach Ayodhya, and instead, watch the live broadcast of the Pujan on Doordarshan from their homes, (sic)" one of the tweets read.
Light diyas to participate in ceremony: Trust told devotees
In the tweets, the trust said it understands the emotions linked to the temple. "It will be their natural desire that they be physically present on the historic and auspicious occasion of Bhoomi Pujan," one tweet read. So, devotees were asked to participate in the ceremony by lighting diyas at their homes in the evening. They were assured that they might participate in the construction.
Trust hopeful devotees may join construction
"An effort will definitely be made in the future to provide an opportunity to all Shri Ram devotees to participate in the construction ceremony of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir. Jai Shri Ram! (sic)" the final tweet read.