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Sunday, 4 October 2020

Covid shadow on Dasehra celebrations in Ambala

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Ambala, October 3

Uncertainty prevails over the famous Ramlila and Dasehra celebrations in Ambala. For the past 160 years, the local artistes had been performing every year to massive crowds from far and near but this year the performance seems uncertain.

Govt nod awaited

  • With a few weeks left for Ramlila, the organisers and artistes have not even started rehearsals

  • Though organisers have applied for permission from the district administration, they are still awaiting the nod

  • Sources say the administration is awaiting directions from the state government before allowing permission to organisers

With a few weeks left for Ramlila, which begins 10 days prior to Dasehra, the organisers and artistes have not even started rehearsals, which used to begin more than a month in advance every year.

The organisers had applied for mandatory permission from the district administration but were still awaiting the nod.

"With Covid spreading rapidly and the number of deaths and positive cases on the rise, we are not sure whether we will be permitted to hold the annual show this year or not," said Shri Ramlila Committee president Trilok Chand.

The administration, sources said, was awaiting directions and guidelines from the state government on the issue before allowing or denying permission to the local organisers.

"We had been busy doing rehearsals and making arrangements for the grand annual show these days every year but this time, we are afraid to act and arrange," said Hargopal Verma, who had been enacting the role of Hanuman for the past over four decades.

Pardeep Kumar, who had been playing the role of Sita for the past more than 30 years, said the zeal and craze among the artistes and organisers was missing this time as nobody wanted to risk their lives.

"We will be holding the show only if the administration permits us to do so and that also as per the laid down guidelines," said committee secretary KC Dheer.

Ambala's Ramlila and Dasehra celebrations, besides tableaux depicting the life of Lord Ram taken out in the town, had been famous across the region since ages and during the competitions between other leading organising towns, Ambala had always stood first.

Committee general secretary SK Jindal said if the administration denied permission, it would be for the first time in history when the Ramlila and Dasehra celebrations would not be held in Ambala.

"Since the celebrations involved a large number of artistes and spectators, we are not going to take any chances and will go by the directions of the government, which are still awaited," said a senior official.

from The Tribune

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