03/08/2020 5:46 PM IST

Day After UP Minister's Covid Death, CM Adityanath Holds Non-Socially Distanced Puja

A priest and 14 policemen posted at the Ram temple site in Ayodhya had tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during a Covid-19 review meeting at BHU's central office on July 26, 2020 in Varanasi.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday offered prayers at the Hanuman Garhi temple, two days ahead of the Ram temple ceremony at Ayodhya on 5 August.

The photos, tweeted by ANI, showed that social distancing norms were not followed while the Chief Minister offered prayers.  

This comes a day after Uttar Pradesh minister Kamal Rani Varun died of Covid-19 at a hospital in Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh has over 90,000 coronavirus cases — 38,023 active cases, 53,168 cured and 1,730 deaths — according to the health ministry data. 

Adityanath visited Ayodhya on Monday to review preparations for the Ram temple bhoomi pujan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 August.

He also visited Hanuman Garhi temple and was seen giving various directions to the senior officers, according to PTI.

Modi will begin the bhoomi pujan on 5 August with a puja at Hanuman Garhi temple, according to reports

Last week, a priest and 14 policemen on duty at the Ram temple site had tested positive for Covid-19. The assistant to the chief priest, Pradeep Das, also said he tested positive for coronavirus, according to NDTV. The report quoted the temple trust as saying that the policemen who tested positive were engaged in security duties at the complex. 

While four policemen were on permanent duty inside the complex, the others took turns.   

The government’s decision to hold the ground-laying ceremony amid a pandemic has come in for criticism. On Sunday, home minister Amit Shah said he tested positive for Covid-19, ruling out his presence at the event.

(With PTI inputs)