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COVID-19 protocols go out the window as devotees throng Hiyangthang Lairembi

Devotees thronging the Hiyangthang Lairembi temple complex

Hiyangthang Lairembi is considered one of the important deities of Sanamahism religion. On the eighth day of the seventh month (Mera) of the Meetei lunar calendar, scores of devotees, mainly women, and girls, thronged the temple complex to offer obeisance to the deity

TFM Report

Scores of devotees of Hiyangthang Lairembi thronged the Lai-shang complex of the female deity at Hiyangthang, Imphal West on Wednesday. COVID-19 protocols and SoPs went for a toss as security personnel had a hard time controlling the crowd. Those without face masks were tested for COVID-19 on the spot. 

Hiyangthang Lairembi is considered one of the important female deities of Sanamahism religion. On the eighth day of the seventh month (Mera) of the Meitei lunar calendar, many devotees, mainly menstruating women, thronged Her Lai-shang to offer prayer. 

Due to the restrictions induced by the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was canceled in 2020. But as the restrictions have been partially relaxed, many came since Tuesday night. Although the number of devotees was less in the morning, the number increased dramatically in the evening. 

As usual, the devotees were largely women and the place was jam-packed by evening. The security personnel stationed there along with the volunteers and members of the Lai committee had a hard time controlling the crowd. 

The security personnel picked out those without facemasks and were tested for COVID-19 (RT-PCR and RAT) free of charge. The initiative was organised by the Directorate of Health Services Manipur and YES Health Care. 

Bidyarani, one of the nurses who conducted the tests, said that the initiative was taken up to test those who want to test willingly and suspected individuals. Though the spread of the COVID virus continues, many do not follow the SOPs due to ignorance. Around 200 individuals were tested by evening. The results were to be issued within 72 hours, she added. 

One of the female police personnel stationed there, Enao, said that the girls take off their facemasks to take photographs and it became a big challenge in advising them to adhere to SOPs. Those without facemasks and did not want to test for COVID-19 were persuaded to do so and were tested. 

Volunteers of India Red Cross Society, Imphal West unit helped those who needed medical help. Other organisations also lent their support.

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