People shop ahead of Chhath Puja at Bongaigaon on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, Nov. 16: The Assam government today sent out an alert to all districts to ensure that Chhath Puja, to be observed on Monday and Tuesday, passes off peacefully.
A source in the chief minister’s office told The Telegraph this evening that the alert, issued to all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police, is preventive in nature, keeping in mind the vulnerability of the Hindi-speaking people who mostly celebrate it.
“They have been asked to ensure proper security at ghats where the puja is offered and also in Hindi-speaking areas. The idea is to keep the administration and the puja organisers in constant touch so that any activities detrimental to peace is swiftly acted upon,” the source said.
Though they claimed that it was a general alert, it coincided with Ulfa calling a 12-hour bandh on Monday in protest against the killing of three persons in Majuli yesterday and also the flexing of muscles by a section within the NDFB (Ranjan Daimary) apparently working without the knowedge of its chief currently lodged in Guwahati Central Jail.
Devotees will be offering prayers on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.
Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri told The Telegraph this evening said that meetings have been held with puja committees here.
The NDRF and State Disaster Relief Force have been put on alert and traffic arrangements worked out to ensure a “safe and secure” puja, mostly along the banks of the Brahmaputra here.
Similar meetings have been held in other districts.
Chhath is mostly celebrated by people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh but of late, other communities have also started observing it. Guwahati, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Silchar, Karimganj and Hailakandi and Nagaon are districts where the festival is celebrated in a big way.
Chhath is the worship of the Sun God for fulfilling wishes and also sustaining life on earth. It spans four days, of which two days are spent fasting.