Ayodhya priest, policemen test Covid-19 positive ahead of Modi event

IANS

An assistant to the chief priest and 16 policemen on duty have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the August 5 grand ceremonial inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, in which Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is to feature prominently.

Acharya Pradeep Das, the assistant to the chief priest of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple, Thursday said that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.Besides, 16 policemen on duty at Ayodhya, where the ‘bhoomi pujan‘ ceremony for the Ram temple is scheduled to be held August 5, have also tested positive for Covid-19.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the ceremony along with about 200 guests.

Last Saturday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had visited the Ram Janmabhoomi complex to review preparations for the August 5 event.

Photos and videos from the day show the coronavirus-positive priest Pradeep Das standing next to the chief minister during a ritual.

The Ram Janmabhoomi chief priest, Acharya Satyendra Das, who will lead the August 5 ceremony, was also seen standing next to them.

Ran Janmabhoomi Trust sources said that the program will go ahead as planned, maintaining all the safety rules for Covid-19.

Ayodhya as of Thursday had 375 active Covid-19 cases while Uttar Pradesh had 29,997 cases.