New Delhi [India], Apr 2 (ANI): Heeding the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to maintain social distancing amid coronavirus outbreak, RSS-affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) celebrated Ram Navami without much fanfare on Thursday.
The organisation had cancelled all grand celebrations to mark the first Ram Navami post the Supreme Court verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi in the aftermath of the lockdown and asked people to pray at home.
Furthermore, VHP is adhering to social distancing, a measure that can prevent the spread of the virus. The organisation has decided to hold its crucial meetings via video conferencing with all its top functionaries in attendance.
"We have the social responsibility of catering to the needs of many. We need to streamline and decide how to take care of government norms while doing that. So, 14 of the functionaries across states get connected via video conferencing and take stock of the situation," Milind Parande, Secretary-General, VHP said.
Those in the VHP headquarters located in RK Puram in the national capital maintained distance while performing pooja. There were a few who sat apart from each other at a respectable distance while watching Ramayana being telecast on Doordarshan.
"As Lord Ram was born around noon, we will begin prayers at 11 am and only a few will be allowed in the temple on the premises. This temple used to witness hundreds of people on Ram Navami. We have requested people not to gather in temples and rather pray at their homes," Parande said.
Ram Navami, being celebrated today, was slated to be a grand affair across the country with thousands of Rath and Shobha yatras to celebrate the beginning of the construction of a grand Ram Temple in Ayodhya post the Supreme Court verdict.
However, with COVID-19 outbreak across countries and appeal by the Prime Minister to stay home to avoid the risk of getting infected, the celebrations have been put on hold.
VHP has also asked its workers to stay and pray at home and follow social distancing as advised by the government.
"The temples will hold the ceremony of celebrating Lord Ram's birth but it will be done only by the priest. People have been discouraged from gathering at temples in wake of Coronavirus spread," Koteshwar Rao, joint General Secretary, VHP said. (ANI)