Coronavirus fear dims Holi colours in Assam

GUWAHATI, MAR 10 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/10/2020 11:08:41 PM IST

The people of Assam mostly passed Monday as a holiday rather than Holi, the festival of colours, because of widespread fear of novel coronavirus, reports The Telegraph Today.

People moved around bus stops, train stations, airports and other commercial establishments, wearing masks and avoiding crowd.
Even in the hostels of colleges and universities, apartment buildings and colonies, the festival was celebrated within the premises and without much fanfare.
The otherwise busy markets such as Fancy Bazar, Panbazar, Maligaon, Ganeshguri and Paltan Bazar recorded a low footfall of customers.
Basudev Das, a vendor of Fancy Bazar, said, “Holi is an occasion when one cheers up, plays Holi songs and celebrates with others. But today, I am conditioned to wear mask and maintain a distance to stay safe. This is what the Holi looks like this year.”
Jagannath Kalita, another vendor from Ganeshguri, said, “All the items have been brought from Jaipur, Calcutta, Patna, Kanpur and Delhi but people are afraid and presume that these are imported from China. So, the customers are simply avoiding them.”
Munmun Kalita, a BA final year student of Handique Girls’ College who stays in a private hostel at Uzan Bazar, said, “The awareness campaign on coronavirus is so extended that we are even afraid to step out of hostel.”
The Batadrava Than of Nagaon and Barpeta Xatra celebrated the festival with religious fervour but participation was moderate.
Traffic police, security forces and police will be deployed on main roads and circles on Tuesday and Wednesday, top police officials said on Monday.
Lawful action will be taken if anyone caught drink driving , as a special drive is on during Holi, or violating other traffic rules.
Driving by minors would also be checked. Police patrol teams will also keep an eye on speed driving.

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