Police to issue new guidelines today to be followed from Monday
By Sandun A Jayasekera
Buddhists in Sri Lanka yesterday celebrated Vesak- their most important religious festival of the year - on a low key in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Even the Mahanayaka Theras of the three Nikayas and chief incumbents of the main places of Buddhist worship like the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Atamasthanaya, Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya,, Kirivehera, Sithulpawwa and Mahiyanganaya advised Buddhists not to crowd at temples, but to mark religious observances at home using the electronic media . They were asked to adhere to ‘Prathipatti Pooja’ rather than Amisa Pooja (spiritual and worldly offerings). As a result, these places of religious importance remained almost deserted yesterday.
There were no Vesak pandals, dansals, pilgrimages and other religious festivals that converge people in one place in any part of the country which was an unprecedented occurrence .
The Police Department would issue a new set of guidelines, instructions and regulations today to be followed by the public, the state and private sector institutions and their employees who are expected to resume work on the directive of their sectional heads from Monday (11) after the expected island wide lifting of curfew, DIG, Ajith Rohana said.
The new set of rules and regulations must be followed by employees, top officials, the public and those involved in public transport, construction and all other sectors to ensure that there will be no further increase in Covid-19 infections in the country, he said.
Mr. Rohana added that Police would intensify raids during the weekend to nab moon shine dens, illegal liquor traders, drug dealers and all other illegal acts.
Slaughtering of animals for food, selling, transporting or hoarding of liquor, meat or fish, and related products and gambling have been fully banned up to Monday on account of Vesak. The Police have set up about 1,200 road blocks Island wide to check illegal activities using vehicles, Mr. Rohana said.
“The Police expect that Buddhists would celebrate Vesak giving priority to spiritual values and not worldly customs. We also expect they would not have dansal, bodhi poojas, mal and pahan poojas and remain in their residence,” he stressed.
Meanwhile the government set free 228 prisoners yesterday (7) who had been incarcerated for their failure to meet bail conditions or convicted for minor offenses.
Police had took into custody 630 men and women for violating curfew during the 24 hours ending at 6.00 am yesterday along with 209 vehicles and the total number of offenders arrested for violating curfew since March 20 was 47,866 and the number of vehicles detained stood at 12,748.