Usual Dusshera resumes as Covid fear recedes; Ajmer celebrations spoilt as 6 drown during immersion

  • | Wednesday | 5th October, 2022

New Delhi, Oct 5 (PTI) Dussehra festivities returned to their usual grandeur after two years of muted celebrations as Covid fears subsided and people came out in their millions to watch the burning of Ravana effigies across the country on Wednesday to mark the victory of good over evil.The celebrations were, however, blighted in Rajasthan"s Ajmer were six people drowned while immersing an idol of Goddess Durga.Huge effigies of demon king Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad went up in flames at various grounds across the length and breadth of the country in ceremonies attended by huge crowds unbounded by Covid restrictions of the past two years.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who witnessed the Dussehra celebrations in Himachal Pradesh"s Kullu, greeted people and said the festival symbolises victory. In a tweet, he wished courage, restraint and positive energy to everyone. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Delhi LG VK Saxena and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other political leaders participated in celebrations. Dhankhar said this was his first public programme in Delhi after taking over as the vice president and he felt overwhelmed by the love and affection shown by the people.The expansive Ramlila Maidan in Delhi was jam-packed with devotees as people thronged the ground to witness the ritual burning of effigies.The day was also used as a show of strength by two Shiv Sena factions who organised competing rallies in Mumbai, and launched tirades against each other.In West Bengal, the five-day-long festival came to a close with the immersion of Durga idols on "Vijayadashami" at various river ghats across the state. By 5 pm, over 420 community clubs and household Pujas in the city had immersed idols of deities at the city"s river ghats and other water bodies.At Babughat, which witnesses numerous idol immersions every year, devotees were seen queuing up since morning, with chants of "Asche bochor abar hobe" (till next year) adding to the fervour. Idol immersions will continue till late in the night, the officer stated. During the day, women participated in the traditional "Sindur Khela" (smearing vermilion on each other"s faces) and offered sweets and prayers to the goddess before bidding her farewell for the year. In Rajasthan, the festival celebrated with full traditional fervour after two-year Covid break. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot attended Ravana "dahan" programme in Dussehra ground in his home town Jodhpur. He set the Ravana effigy on fire. A 120-feet Ravana effigy was erected in Vidhaydhar Nagar stadium. In Ajmer, six people drowned in a ditch filled with rainwater during the immersion of a Goddess Durga idol in Rajasthan"s Ajmer district on Wednesday, police said. The incident occurred at Nandla village under the Nasirabad Sadar police station where the youths had gone to immerse the idol. Congress president Sonia Gandhi offered prayers at the Bheemanakolli temple in Begur village of H.D. Kote Assembly segment in Karnataka. She is in the state to take part in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra. Addressing the RSS Dussehra rally in Nagpur, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said the way India recently helped crisis-hit Sri Lanka and asserted its stand during the Ukraine-Russia conflict showed the country was being heard and that it was becoming more and more self-reliant on the national security front. In Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur paid obeisance at the famous Jakhu temple in Shimla on the Dussehra festival and prayed for the happiness and prosperity of the people of the state. He also preformed the ceremony of burning of effigies. In Punjab and Haryana, giant effigies went up in flames marking the triumph of good over evil. In Chandigarh, the main attraction was the 90-feet tall Ravana effigy in Sector 46-C. The UT administration had allowed the use of only green crackers. In Haryana"s Yamunanagar, people had a narrow escape during am event when a burning effigy of Ravana toppled as they were trying to come near it. Yamunanagar Superintendent of Police, Mohit Handa, said some people were trying to go near the effigy but police personnel present there pushed them back. Asked whether the effigy fell on people, the SP said it did not fall on anyone. "Visually, it may appear that it fell on them but this was not the case," he said, referring to a video clip of the incident. A spokesperson of the RSS said hundreds of volunteers performed weapon worship at multiple venues. But as people burnt Ravana effigies people people at Sangola, a non-descript village in Akola district of Maharashtra, performs "aarti" of demon king. Many residents believe they are employed and able to sustain their livelihoods because of Ravan"s blessings and the peace and happiness in their village is because of the demon king. In Uttar Pradesh"s Mathura too, the Lankesh Bhakta Mandal said it has decided to persuade people not to burn the effigies of Ravana. Lankesh Bhakta Mandal president Omveer Saraswat said the practice of burning of effigy is "irreligious" as it is against the traditions of Indian culture. "The last rites of a person is conducted only once," he said. PTI TEAM TIR TIR

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