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Capital marks a relatively staid Holi this time in midst of COVID-19 fear

Purna Prasad Mishra, KATHMANDU: The Phagu Poornima or Holi festival, the festival of colours, has been celebrated in the districts of mountainous and hilly regions, including in the Kathmandu Valley, today in a more sedate manner compared to usually the boisterous atmosphere associated with it in the past years.
Mainly the young boys used to throw dirty water filled in plastic pouches and balloons especially targeting women.
In the past, the Holi revelers used to smear colours on others and throw water-filled balloons at pedestrians wantonly and against their will. This year such activities have not been observed. In fact these kinds of activities are found decreasing during the Holi celebration over the succeeding years.
The district administrations have urged the people to celebrate the festival of colours in small groups and in a more peaceful and civilized manner as a precaution considering the risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and citing that WHO has kept Nepal at its high risk.
Mostly children can be seen playing Holi in the streets and open spaces in Kathmandu. Unlike in the past, there is negligible number of groups of Holi revelers going around the town in reserved open trucks noisily and splashing coloured water and hurling water-filled balloons.
People are found more conscious this time given the weather also as temperature has not increased much and it is still cold. It is said there are high chances of the spread of coronavirus in cold conditions.
Spokesperson at the Metropolitan Police Range, Deputy Superintendent Hobindra Bogati said no untoward incidents have been reported so far in course of Holi celebration in Kathmandu. He said the number of people out on the streets playing Holi has decreased this year, compared to the past.
According to him, police personnel have however been mobilised keeping in mind the public security during the festival. He said around 2,500 security personnel have been mobilised in Kathmandu Valley for this purpose.
“Many people have not come out of their homes to celebrate Holi heeding to the administration advisory not to mark the festival because of the risk of COVID-19. Still, we have beefed up the security in case any untoward incident happens,” Bogati added.
He said police have taken 15 people under control on the charge of hooliganism and rowdy activities in course of celebrating Holi.
The major intersections in the city are deserted and there is less traffic on the road. But some people have assembled at Basantapur to celebrate Holi. It is estimated that some 500 people have gather at Basantapur.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has also tightened security check on vehicles considering the possibility of accidents during the Holi. Division spokesperson Superintendent Jeevan Kumar Shrestha said 566 traffic police persons have been mobilised at 75 places in the Kathmandu Valley for this purpose.
He added that 14 mobile traffic police teams have also been mobilised to prevent drunk driving and driving without carrying the license and official documents and flouting of traffic rules. RSS

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