Rato Machhindranath Jatra: Symbolic chariot-pulling today

Locals pull the chariot of Rato Machhindranath in Lalitpur, defying the administration’s prohibitory order, on Thursday, September 3, 2020.

Kathmandu, September 6

Government officials and local community leaders of Lalitpur are pulling the chariot of Rato Machhindranath as a part of the annual festival on Sunday afternoon.

However, today’s activity will be only symbolic as the local administration has barred the public from gatherings so as to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Chandra Maharjan, the Jatra Management Committee coordinator, says the chariot will be pulled up to Sorhakhutte Pati, some 20 metres away from the place where the chariot has been kept, at 3 pm today adopting all needful security measures.

The activity follows a violent clash between locals and police personnel after the locals unilaterally tried to start the jatra on Thursday last week arguing it was already too late to hold the annual festival initially scheduled for April. The festival was postponed repeatedly due to the Covid-19 spread in the city, but the locals had tried to pull the chariot notwithstanding the prohibitory order imposed to control the spread.

The District Administration Office had imposed a curfew in the city on Friday so as to avoid any untoward incident. Amidst the curfew, community leaders guarded by the police had performed a kshama puja (worship, seeking forgiving).

The officials have also agreed to cut short the regular procedure of the jatra considering the recently developed situation and take the statue to Bungamati directly without holding the significant Bhoto Dekhaune Jatra.

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