Ahmedabad, Oct 16 (PTI) Justifying restrictions placed on Navratri events in Gujarat this year in view of the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday said his government gave priority to public health over celebrations.
He made the statement a day before the commencement of the nine-day Navratri festival, one of the biggest religious events in Gujarat.
The Gujarat government has banned organisation of 'garba' events, a key feature of Navratri involving traditional dance, across the state.
A week back, the state government had said permission will not be granted for Navratri celebrations, be it commercial garba events or those held inside residential societies.
'Navratri holds special importance for the people of Gujarat. People eagerly wait to enjoy garba during this season.
'But this time, the situation is different. The entire world is fighting against coronavirus,' said Rupani in a video message.
'We are also fighting against this pandemic. Putting special emphasis on public health, we have not given permission for Navratri events this time.
'People's health is our priority and we must ensure that efforts we all have made so far to control the outbreak do not go in vain,' said the CM.
He said though festivals are important, it is not advisable to risk lives to celebrate them.
Rupani sought people's cooperation and hoped citizens understand the seriousness of the situation.
'I know that you all agree with me on this. The government took a tough decision in the interest of people.
'I appeal to people to wear masks, wash hands properly and regularly and maintain social distancing until a vaccine comes,' headded.
Till October 15, Gujarat had recorded 1,56,283 COVID- 19 cases and 3,609 deaths. PTI PJT PD RSY RSY