Sharmili Mallick

With the steep rise in Covid-19 infections and detection of new Omicron variant cases in the State, the Bhadrak district administration has declared the closure of all religious and social places like temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras, in order to contain the spread of the virus.

In an order issued by the District Collector on Sunday, the district administration imposed the restriction with effect from January 10 (1 am) till January 31 (12 PM).

Meanwhile, Section 144 has been clamped at the Baba Akhandalamani Temple in the district in compliance with the orders issued by the district administration. However, the rituals of the deity are underway amid strict adherence to Covid protocols. 

As per the order, only one Sevayat/Servitor is allowed to perform the rituals (Nitikanti) of the deity in the temples. There shall be no darshan by public/devotees.

The district administration has also prohibited the use of public address systems and religious procession of any kind from any religious community. Religious congregations of more than 5 people have been strictly prohibited.

Besides, the administration has directed the people to maintain social distance with the use of masks as stipulated in "The Odisha COV1D-19 Regulations 2020" and guidelines.

All the Inspector-in-charges (IICs)/Officer-in-charges (OICs) have been directed to promulgate and enforce the order in all temples and religious places of worship.

“This order shall come into force with immediate effect and any person violating these measures will be proceeded against in accordance with the provisions of section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act.2005, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Regulations issued thereunder besides legal action under section 188 of the 1PC and other legal provisions as applicable,” read the order.

Bhadrak has so far registered 26,661 Covid-19 cases, including seven on Sunday, and 148 deaths. While the active cases stood at 46, as many as 26,463 have recovered from the disease till date.

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