Ayodhya, March 29 : As the COVID-19 crisis worsens in the country, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has cancelled the '84-kosi parikrama' that was to begin on April 8.
The '84-kosi parikrama' passes through Ayodhya, Barabanki and Gonda, celebrating Lord Ram's empire.
According to VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma, "The 'parikrama' has been cancelled as we need to stand in solidarity with the government and society against coronavirus.
Religious and social rituals will survive only when the nation is protected."
The 'parikrama' cannot be postponed as it has to take place in Chaitra, the first month of Hindu calendar.
The decision for cancelling the 'parikrama' was taken by Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust chairperson Mahant Nritya Gopal Das and secretary Champat Rai in consultation with top leadership of the VHP.
"Preparations for the parikrama were complete.
Seers from across the country would have been in Ayodhya for it. However, the country and society come first. If they are safe, then the 'parikrama' can happen next year," Sharma said.
The VHP had already scaled down Sri Ram Mahotsav celebration this year despite the fact that millions of devotees were expected to have assembled in Ayodhya to celebrate the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit.
"Our ancestors have said that it is only when society is safe that religious and social obligations can be followed and places of worship flourish.
We stand in solidarity with the government's decision to enforce lockdown which might be a short-term inconvenience," he said.