PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD/TOBAGO March 22, 2020 (Hpi by Paras Ramoutar): Because of the unpredictably of the Covid 19 spread, Hindu major organizations have cancelled all religious and social observances starting with Nau Raatri, Lord Rama Naumi and Lord Hanuman Jayanti. Spokesman for the major Hindu organization, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha(SDMS) has ordered all mandirs under its jurisdiction to cease holding their weekly and daily religious services to the general public with immediate effect, following the announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley that there must not be any gathering of more than ten persons.
Devotees are urged to perform their religious services in the privacy of their homes or mandirs in order to ward off the potential of the spread of Covid 19. There has been police surveillance at several religious organizations in order to obey the injunctions of the Government as the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is leaving no stone unturned to contain its spread. This is one of several orders calling on the national populace to keep in mind the seriousness of the pandemic.
The usual observance of Nau Raatri which starts on Tuesday March 24 and which will last for a nine-day period has hit Hindu women seriously as they are accustomed to keep vigil at mandirs paying obeisance to Mother Durga, Mother Lakshmi and finally to Mother Sarsawati. Then Lord Rama Naumi will take place on April 1, followed by Lord Hanuman Jayanti on April 7. There are over 400 mandirs dotting the Trinidad landscape, which host daily and weekly religious services. Additionally, all religious groups have been offering special prayers and benediction to stop Covid 19 as a nightmare to the populations of 1.4 million people, of which 44 per cent are of East Indian stock, but approximately 25 per cent are devout Hindus.