Unmindful of the warning issued by the district administration and health officials’, not to congregate, in the wake of the spread of the deadly coronavirus, thousands of people attended the Sharanabasaveshwara temple’s annual car festival on Friday (March 13), in Kalburgi, Karnataka.
However, after the first day, the fortnightly event was brought to a close.
Confirming the order, Deputy Commissioner B Sharat stated that the car festival was stopped, people dispersed and the area cordoned off.
According to health officials, a request to the temple management to cancel the event went unheeded as the festival celebrated, since 198 years, could not be nixed due to religious beliefs.
Speaking to The Federal, the secretary of the temple management committee, Basavaraj S Deshmukh said, “The event has been celebrated since last 198 years. So, we could not stop it. We only did procedural events and advanced them by a few hours. It remained a low-key affair this year considering the safety of devotees.”
The number of people who participated in the festival this year was much lesser compared to the previous years, Deshmukh noted.
The annual car festival is held to commemorate the death anniversary of saint Sharanabasaveshwara.
With the death of a septuagenarian from the district who had travelled to Hyderabad for treatment and later tested positive for COVID-19, the health officials have been taking extra measures to keep the public safe.
A 200-bed isolated ward is being set-up ESI Hospital in Kalaburagi to treat the suspected cases.
However, opposition parties have been attacking the state government’s inability to stop the event and its failure to quarantine coronavirus infected person in the region.