PANAJI: The Goa government introduced on Tuesday and then quickly withdrew the “standard operating procedures” (SOPs) issued for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival after Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted his disapproval.
“Personally, I don’t agree with some of the guidelines that have been published in the SoP, especially the one that prevents priests from going to individual homes for puja. Ganesh Chaturthi is Goa’s most important festival and such rituals are an integral part of it, ”Pramod Sawant said on the microblogging platform Twitter.
“Although the expert committee suggested such restrictions, I have asked the administration to immediately withdraw the SoP. Chaturthi must be celebrated with total fervor while taking all necessary precautions, given the pandemic” .
State government SOPs released hours earlier demanded that Ganesh Chaturthi’s otherwise extravagant September 10 celebrations be toned down this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SOPs were asking people to stick to online modes to organize community celebrations such as “arati, bhajan, kirtan and other religious programs”, not to organize cultural programs but to opt instead to organize health camps, including blood donation camps.
The SOPs also asked the families to immerse the idol of Ganesh in the house.
“However, if this is not possible, only the immersion should be done at the nearest point of immersion. No procession is allowed during the bringing of the idols to the point of immersion. No gatherings after submersion will be allowed, ”said the now-suppressed SOPs. HT has reviewed the order.
“The priest will be banned [from] perform Ganesh Pooja by going to individual households, they can perform an online pooja. In addition, families should be encouraged to perform their own puja using various technological means such as YouTube, WhatsApp videos, etc. Said the SOPs.
Ganesh Chaturthi is largely a community celebration in Goa and the celebrations last almost a week and often involve meetings with friends and neighbors in addition to the setting up of elaborate idols in public plazas visited by thousands. of people.
On and off social media, SOPs have drawn criticism, with many questioning why SOPs are mandated for a religious holiday but not for political rallies and gatherings.