New restrictions act as dampener for Christmas festivities in Mumbai

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Mumbai, Dec 24 (PTI) Mumbai is all set to ring in Christmas festivities from Thursday midnight, though night curfew and restrictions on mass prayers have come as a disappointment for the Christian community.

Several churches in the city had made arrangements for one member from each local family to attend the Christmas mass so as to avoid large gatherings in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

But many of these programs had to be canceled when the civic authorites imposed a night curfew after a new variant of the virus found in the UK caused worldwide alarm.

'There is disappointment in the Christian community as the number of people who can attend the prayers is very small due to new restrictions,' said Fr Nigel Barrett, spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bombay.

Several Churches have canceled the mass, he added.

Areas such as Mahim, Dadar, Matunga, IC Colony in Borivali, Bandra West, Santacruz East, Chembur and Malad have a sizable Christian population.

'Night curfew came as a shock to the whole community, especially when there are no cases of the new strain in India and to add to it, the last minute restrictions for mass prayer have made the celebration even more difficult,' said Collin Rodrigues, a resident of Umerkhadi area.

Most churches have advanced midnight mass prayers to the Christmas eve while some churches have made arrangements to allow people to attend the mass prayer online. PTI KK KRK KRK