A priest and 15 policemen on duty at the Ram temple site in Ayodhya, where the bhumi pujan (groundbreaking ceremony) for the temple will take place next week, have tested positive for coronavirus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to attend the ceremony on August 5, for which Diwali-like preparations are in full swing.
The Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust has issued an appeal to all saints across the country to perform puja in their respective temples and Maths from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm on August 5. Champat Rai, general secretary of the Trust, requested people to watch the live telecast of Bhoomi Pujan on television and light earthen lamps at home in the evening.
Last week, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had visited the Ram Janmabhoomi complex to review preparations for the mega event.
For the ceremony on August 5, 11 priests from Varanasi and Ayodhya will perform the puja. Pradeep Das, priest who tested positive, is not part of this group of 11.
The Trust has decided to get the entire Ram Janmabhoomi campus sanitised on a daily basis.
"There is nothing to worry about. One of the priests who performs daily rituals at the temple site has tested positive. The entire campus will be sanitised on a routine basis," said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, successor designate to Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, chairman of the Trust.
Some 200 people have been invited for the programme. All chief ministers from different states will be invited as well, said swami Govind Dev Giri, Treasurer of the Trust.
Veteran BJP leader and former deputy prime minister LK Advani and other leaders of the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation will also be invited to the ceremony, said a Trust member.
In Ayodhya, elaborate preparations are being planned for the three-day Vedic rituals at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. The rituals will begin on August 3 and end with a 'bhumi pujan' on August 5 before the construction of the much awaited temple begins.