Pandemic dims the light of Deepavalli, Kuching Hindus in low-keyed mood

Shankar and his wife Karishma wishing Hindus happy Diwali today (Nov 14).

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 14: Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and Kuching being placed under the red zone, the Hindus in Kuching celebrate Deepavali (Diwali) only among their family members and selected fiends.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple president, Shankar Ram Asnani said he and his family could not hold an open house this year due to the imposition of the standard operating procedure (SOP).

On this auspicious occasion, Shankar and his dedicated Committee members wished their fellow Hindus a Happy Deepavali.

“It has been a challenging year but nothing comes in our way of duty. My Committee and I are truly grateful and humbled by God’s grace and the strong public support,” he said here today.

He added that the reconstruction of their new Sri Maha Mariamman Temple with its 18-meter-tall ‘Raja Gopuram’ is progressing steadily.

“We started the reconstruction works after the ‘Bumi Puja’ ceremony on Jan 21, 2020. We were delayed several months due to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Soon thereafter, our Contractors caught up with the works.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your selfless contributions to the growth and progress of our temple and though we are a small community, we now can have a nice temple,” he explained.

Shankar also conveyed his deep appreciation to the Sarawak Government and especially Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for the RM2.3 million contribution towards the construction cost of their new temple.

Karishma (right) and Dona at a private lunch in conjunction with Diwali today

“We would also like to express our gratitude to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Minister of Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Dato Richard Wee and Datin Dona Drury Wee and Unit for Other Religions (Unifor),” Shankar said.

He reiterated that as part of their culture of accountability and transparency, they have been furnishing the authorities with their temple accounts regularly and report back on the progress of works and the claims made.

“Those who have any queries do not hesitate to write to our secretary (of the temple).

“Once again, our best wishes to you and your family. Do stay safe and healthy. Please follow the SOPs strictly,” advised Shankar. – DayakDaily