Covid: Police seek curfew in Pandharpur ahead of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’

Solapur Police have sent a proposal to their district administration to impose curfew in the Pandharpur temple town from Tuesday ahead of the ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lakhs of devotees throng the temple of Lord Vitthal in Pandharpur town of Solapur in Maharashtra on the occasion of ‘Ashadhi Ekadashi’, which falls on July 1 this year.

In view of the Covid-19 outbreak, authorities have decided that ‘wari’ (pilgrimage) will be held this year with the padukas (foot prints) of Saint Dnyaneshwar, Sant Tukaram and others being taken to Pandharpur by air or road, and not on foot as is done traditionally.

Solapur Additional Superintendent of Police Atul Zende told PTI on Monday that they have done nakabandi (road blockades) to ensure people from outside do not gather at the temple town.

“There are plans to impose curfew in Pandharpur to restrict the movement of locals. Hence, a proposal has been sent to the Solapur collector to impose curfew in and around Pandharpur from June 30 to July 2,” he said.

“Barring 10 ‘palkhis’ (palanquins) and a limited number of persons who have been allowed to accompany them, no one else will be allowed to come to the temple,” said Zende.

Only those who have been given passes by the temple administration will be allowed to enter the religious premises, he said.

All essential and emergency services will remain functional in the town, he added.

Traditionally, lakhs of ‘warkaris’, devotees of Lord Vitthal, undertake the pilgrimage on foot from all over Maharashtra and reach Pandharpur on Ashadhi Ekadashi.

However, in view of the coronavirus outbreak, authorities have decided to keep the celebrations low-key this year.

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