Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday celebrated the Uttarayan festival in Ahmedabad in a low-key manner in view of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Shah, who is on a visit to his home town on the occasion of the festival, offered prayers at the Jagannath temple here with his family members to mark the day.
He performed ‘aarti’ and also worshipped a cow and an elephant at the temple as per the tradition.
Tight security arrangements were made at the temple ahead of his visit.
“On the auspicious occasion of Uttarayan, offered prayers at the famous Shri Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad today. May Lord Jagannath extend his blessings to all. Jai Jagannath!” Shah tweeted in Hindi.
Unlike the past when Shah used to visit the residence of one of the local BJP leaders to fly kites along with his supporters, the Union minister celebrated the festival this time only with his family members.
The Gujarat government has banned flying kites in open grounds or public areas.The government has also prohibited loudspeakers and sound amplifier systems, and allowed only family members and residents of housing societies on terraces to avoid large gatherings.
People across the state kept the celebrations simple in view of the restrictions. In many places, people flew kits on the terraces of their houses in small groups and did not play loud music.
Long queues were seen at some places outside shops selling traditional delicacies like ‘Undhiyu’, but people followed the social distancing norms.The state police kept a strict vigil to ensure people follow the government’s guidelines.
To prevent large gatherings, the police used drone cameras and binoculars to keep an eye on the terraces of high-rises and open grounds.Patrolling was also intensified in some sensitive areas of Ahmedabad, a police official said.