Holi being celebrated amid COVID-19 scare

Kathmandu, March 8

People in Kathmandu valley and hilly districts will observe Holi, the festival of colours, which is also known as Fagu Purnima, by exchanging wishes and smearing each other with coloured powders tomorrow.

Revellers, young and old alike, also throw water-filled balloons at each other. The festival will be celebrated in Tarai region on Tuesday. This year, people will be celebrating the ancient Hindu festival amid coronavirus scare and the government’s appeal to all to stay away from festivities in crowds. The fear of COVID-19 outbreak is likely to stop the revellers from pouring into the valley streets.

Holi marks the end of winter and also the victory of good over evil. The government has declared public holiday for the festival. Global outbreak of COVID-19 had led the government to caution people against assemblies and mass meetings after World Health Organisation included Nepal in the list of countries vulnerable to its outbreak.

Despite government appeal, police said they had made special security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident during the festival. Any person found misbehaving with passers-by, especially women, on the pretext of celebrating Holi would be arrested immediately and charged under Some Public Offences (Crime and Punishment Act)-1970.

Some miscreants often disturb peace by hurling balloons filled with dirty water from rooftops and windows of their houses, often inflicting injuries on pedestrians. The law enforcement agency has also appealed to all denizens to celebrate the festival in a decent manner.

Traffic police said security would be stepped up across the valley tomorrow as figures of the past few years show that Holi festival is likely to witness more accidents than normal days due to drink driving, overspeeding and recklessness.

According to Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, any person caught driving under the influence, driving rough, zigzagging bike, riding bike without helmet and carrying more than one pillion rider and violating other traffic rules will be brought to book.