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Assam Police urges people to give community Bihu celebration a miss this year

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By PTI Updated: Apr 13, 2020 10:31 pm
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People belonging to Assamese community maintain a safe distance as they perform a traditonal dance on the occasion of Rongali Bihu, during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, at a ground in Guwahati on Monday. (PTI)

Guwahati, April 13 (PTI): The usual gaiety witnessed during Assam’s spring festival ‘Bohag’ or ‘Rongali Bihu’, marking the Assamese New Year, will have to be missed this year due to the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The Assam Police has issued an advisory and brought out a music video urging people not to congregate to celebrate the state’s most important festival that began on Monday.

The advisory on Bihu celebration restricts any gathering or programme due to the ongoing lockdown, Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said.

“People are requested to celebrate in their homes and Bihu committees are urged to organise only flag hoisting ceremonies,” the DGP said.

The community Bihu celebration begins with the hoisting of flags at neighbourhood fields by committee members in the presence of local residents.

“This year, we have asked the Bihu committees to organise the flag hoisting programme with a maximum of five persons and restrict the event to a maximum of 30 minutes,” Mahanta said.

He also urged the participants to maintain social distancing during the event.

ADGP (law and order) G P Singh urged people to celebrate the festival only with those with whom “they are sharing a house during lockdown” and not to visit the houses of other relatives.

In the music video brought out by the police, its uniformed personnel, with Assamese ‘gamosa’ around their necks, are seen dancing to the tunes of a Bihu song, the lyrics of which is based on awareness on coronavirus.

Traditional Assamese musical instruments such as ‘Dhol’ (drum), ‘Pepa’ (buffalo horn flute) and ‘Gogona’ (a jaw harp) are also played.

The Bihu song urges people to stay at home and says that people will invite coronavirus to their homes if they indulge in community celebration.

The song says life will come to an end if the chain of coronavirus infection is not broken.

It says if the community survives, there will be more Bihu celebrations so “let us keep it low this year and sing the glory of humanity”.

The Bihu song has resonated with the people. “The Bihu song is catchy and its message relevant,” Cotton University student Devarshi Hazarika said.

Thirty five-year-old homemaker Monica Barua said she will celebrate Bihu at home by seeking blessings from elders and preparing ‘pitha’ (rice cake) and ‘laru’ (sweetmeat).

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By PTI Updated: Apr 13, 2020 10:31:32 pm