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Braving corona warnings, thousands celebrate Nawroz in Aibak

Braving corona warnings, thousands celebrate Nawroz in Aibak

Mar 21, 2020 - 18:14

AIBAK (Pajhwok): Braving security checks and coronavirus fears, thousands of people celebrated the New Persian 1399 in northern Samangan province despite police warning.

The Afghan government recently announced scrapping Nawruz celebrations over risk of coronavirus spread. The government also asked people through media to avoid making crowds.

Takht-i Rustam or Stupa of Takht-e Rostam is a stupa-monastery complex two kilometers south of Aibak, the provincial capital. It is the only place where thousands of people from across Samangan province gather for celebrating New Year.

A day earlier, Samangan police announced that people should not participate in Nawruz celebrations and closed dozens of mobile restaurants in the area.

However, a number of residents of the province ignored the warnings from police and the Information and Culture Department and gathered in thousands at Takht-i-Rustam area to celebrate the New Year.

Abdul Sammad, 45, a resident of Karat-i-Mujahid area of Aibak city, arrived in the area with his seven friends to participate in the festival. “We do not care about corona. There is no corona here, let us enjoy the air of spring.”

The friends wore no mask and they believed coronavirus was not real because China wanted to cash in on the situation.

“What is corona, it is a normal flu which we face three times a month,” Sammad said.

 However, Tahmina, 17, a resident of Karta-i-Khurasan area of Aibak city, who along with eight of her friends had come to the area for recreation, said, “We know the government has banned gatherings, but it is also impossible to stay home in spring.”

Tahmina and her friends used masks. She said she and all her family knew about coronavirus and they observed sanitary.

On the other hand, Samangan police confirmed they were unable to stop people from celebrating the New Year and called the gathering an arbitrary act.

First Lt. Shah Mohammad, Samangan deputy police chief, who was appointed for security of people in Takht-i-Rustam, said that they had warned people one day ahead to avoid the New Year celebration and crowding and also closed 89 mobile restaurants in the area, but people gathered in thousands and police failed to stop them. He said people should be cautious as coronavirus was a global problem.

Abdul Majid, 50, a resident of Khost province, who owns a swing ride, said, “We come here every New Year and but this time police are not allowing us to earn money.”

He said not only him, but many other people who owned restaurants and amusement machines had been stopped by police.


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