Ranchi, April 15 (IANS) The Ram Navami festival was celebrated with devotion in Jharkhand on Friday amid tight security.
Ram Navami is the ninth day Chaitra Navratri – the nine days being dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Shakti. The festival is also associated with Lord Ram.
Long queues of devotees are being seen outside temples across the state. The Ram temple at Niwaranpur here saw more than one lakh devotees praying to Lord Rama and Hanumana.
Ranchi city has been festooned with saffron flags.
Public ceremonies are an important part of Ram Navami celebrations in the state, necessitating strict security arrangements to prevent any breach of inter-communal peace.
The authorities are extra cautious this time as the festival falls on Friday, the day of public prayers for Muslims.
CCTV cameras and drones are being used to keep a close watch on Ram Navmi processions in Ranchi and other districts of the state.
In communally sensitive areas, peace committee meetings have taken place. In steel city Jamshedpur, security forces took out a flag march on Thursday to reassure people that law and order was being maintained.
The Ram Navami procession here starts at 1 p.m. and continues till late night. In some districts, such as Hazaribagh, processions continue the whole night.
Members of ‘Akharas’ – clubs of religious renunciates – are enthusiastic participants in Ram Navami processions, displaying traditional weapons like swords.
Processions — in which people use vehicles and carry tall flags create — create their own safety problems, such as the risk of getting electrocuted by electric poles and wires.
After about 10 people were electrocuted in one such procession in the past, authorities in many district have taken to cutting power supply during the time processions are conducted.
In Ranchi, people, including Muslims, can be seen offering water to devotees participating in the Ram Navami procession.
The sale of liquor and mutton has been been suspended for three days from Thursday in the state.