Hindustan Times (East UP)

In Saharanpur, outstation devotees protest ‘discrimina­tory’ order

- S Raju s.raju@htlive.com

MEERUT : Devotees from other districts, arriving at Shaktipeet­h of Shakumbhar­i, in district Saharanpur, have to produce a negative RT-PCR test report to be allowed entry into the temple.

The district administra­tion has made a negative RT-PCR test report mandatory and one which is no older than 72 hours, for devotees arriving at the temple from outside Saharanpur district.

However, this rule does not apply to devotees coming from within Saharanpur district.

This discrimina­tory attitude of officials led to a hullabaloo at the checking point on Monday as hundreds of devotees who arrived from outside Saharanpur, protested against the order. Devotees usually come here to offer puja during Navratri.

Deepti Dev, sub-divisional magistrate, Behat area, where the temple is situated, said that the order has been issued to prevent people from being infected from the virus. He, however, failed to give a satisfacto­ry reply why the order is only for those devotees coming from outside.

He admitted that devotees objected to the order and they gathered at the primary health centre asking to conduct their tests. They were told that only rapid antigen tests could be conducted at the PHC which is not valid for seeking entry. “The devotees were somehow convinced to return and come only after obtaining a negative RT-PCR report,” said Dev.

Rakesh Jain, BJP’s city president, Saharanpur, said that devotees offer puja at Shaktipeet­h during Navratri in big numbers. Devotees from neighbouri­ng districts and Haryana also arrive there and demanding RT-PCR negative report only from devotees arriving from outside Saharanpur was not fair. “Orders need to be the same for everyone,” said Jain, and assured that he would raise the issue with the district magistrate.

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