This year’s Rongali Bihu celebrations have fallen victim to the new Coronavirus. The Bihu celebrations in Assam will remain restricted to rituals only in view of the coronavirus fear.
Amid the COVID19 pandemic, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) on Sunday in a press statement asked the people of Assam to light diyas on the occasion of Manuhor Bihu (The first day of Assamese New Year ‘Bohag’).
To say things aren’t the same as before, would be an understatement. Amid national lockdown, even the fervour with which people celebrate festivals isn’t the same. It started around the time of Holi earlier this month, with people being scared to play it in a crowd.
As the state government was taking every possible step to prevent the spread of coronavirus, organisers of most Bihu celebrations, Assam’s biggest festival, decided to cancel their on-stage programmes.
Assam Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta has requested the Bihu committees to have an assembly of five people only to hoist the flag.
The DGP has also asked the committees to restrict the hoisting of the flag to 30 minutes and ensure social distancing. Due to the current threat posed by the virus, DGP Mahanta has urged people to abstain from mass gatherings.
Earlier, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had suggested the Bihu committees to hoist the celebration flag instead of arranging cultural programme. “Four or five persons will be allowed to attend the flag hoisting progamme”, Sarma said.
“Good days will come, once the deadly virus leaves…will observe Bihu and other festivals when the situation back to normal”, Sarma said.
Many said the Bihu organisers took such a big step after 1983, when Assam witnessed turmoil due to the anti-foreigners agitation.