Authorities in Jammu on Monday announced the cancellation of the annual ‘Jhiri Mela’ at the Baba Jittoo temple here due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but said devotees can offer prayers at the shrine with strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour.
The nine-day-long mela (fair) is held during ‘Karthik Purnima’ in Jhiri village, 20 kms from here, on the Jammu-Akhnoor Highway.
Like previous year, Jhiri Mela stands cancelled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, religious rituals like puja will take place as per tradition and devotees are also welcome but should follow the COVID-19 SOPs and guidelines strictly, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Marh, Nasir Ali said.
Over five lakh devotees from across Jammu, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and other parts of the country visit the fair every year to commemorate the sacrifice of the Baba Jittoo, a farmer who gave up his life in protest against the oppressive demands of the ‘zamindar’ (landlords) about 500 years ago.
His daughter, according to the legend, also took her life by jumping on her father’s funeral pyre.
According to the directions of the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu Anshul Garg, the fair, which was scheduled to start later this week, is cancelled this year as well and there will be no arrangements from the administration for the devotees, Ali said.
The visitors need to make arrangements for their stay on their own, he said, asking the pilgrims to strictly follow Covid-appropriate behaviour for their own safety and the safety of others.
The officer said there would be no market or amusement activities during the festival days.
Earlier, the Jammu district administration used to make all the arrangements for the smooth conduct of the fair. ( PTI )