- Bhopal: National Service Scheme volunteer dress up as Yamraj, God of death
- The Yamraj distributes face masks and explains why it is needed
- Defaulters not wearing mask can also be punished by the Yamraj
New Delhi: Bhopal administration taps the services of Yamraj, the God of Death to punish people for not wearing face masks, one of the key preventive steps to stop the spread of SARS – CoV-2. If anyone is spotted without a mask by the “Yamraj” on duty, then the defaulter will have to assist health workers and others handling COVID-19 related work. Dressed up as Yamraj, the person not just enforces the ‘wear a mask’ rule but also distributes face masks to spread awareness about the need to wear one every time anyone steps out of the house. Avinash Chauhan, NSS (National Service Scheme) volunteer, who plays Yamraj believes that when everyone works together, the nation can beat Coronavirus. Talking to NDTV, Mr Chauhan said,
When I talk to people as Yamraj, some people do get scared. I tell them to wear their masks when they go out because as a nation only then we can beat coronavirus.
Talking about violators being given the task of assisting frontline warriors, Avinash Lavaniya, Collector of Bhopal told NDTV,
Store owners in Bhopal, found without a mask, will be given duty as ‘corona warrior’ and their shops will be sealed for three days.
Tapping the services of God of Death is not new. Earlier in April, in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore Police Constable Jawahar Singh dressed up as Yamraj to raise awareness among people about staying at home during lockdown. Sitting on the bonnet of the police jeep, Mr Singh took the rounds of the city and said,
No one should step out of their house. If you will venture out, you will contract the coronavirus and then if you will not get treatment, you will have to accompany me to hell.
Delhi Police too took the help of a local artist dressed up as Yamraj who took rounds of RK Puram, a locality in South Delhi to create awareness by instilling fear in people. He said,
Delhiites, I am giving you the warning, again; if you love your life, stay inside your home and stay safe. Otherwise, coronavirus, my messenger, will take you to yamlok (hell).
If it is Yamraj in North India then Goddess Mariamman in Tamil Nadu. Last week, a woman in Tamil Nadu, dressed as the Goddess was seen on the streets distributing masks. People revere Mariamman as the Goddess for good health and immunity.
With the steep rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, people across the country are devising ways to impress upon people the importance of prevention and simple ways like staying at home or wearing masks to protect themselves from getting infected.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.