Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) [India], May 1 (ANI): The closure of shrines and ban on public gatherings in Rameswaram due to the coronavirus lockdown have made the lives of priests tough as they are now finding it difficult to earn their livelihood.
Some of them have found a way out to earn a little money in these testing times by performing a few monthly rituals like Amavasai Tharpanam via WhatsApp video calls on the request of the families.
B Sundaresa Sastrigal of Rameswaram Agni Theertham Prohits Association told ANI that several priests also do not possess a ration card for obtaining rice as they used to get it from the devotees after performing the rituals on normal days.
“Since priests are offered rice after they perform the ceremonies. most of them have opted for sugar ration card. Now that, we have non-rice ration cards, we are not eligible for the government schemes. We did not even get Rs 1,000 from the government,” he said.
“We have over 100 families of priests who do perform various rituals on the beach here. Due to lockdown, most of them have lost their livelihood. Our association is helping them by providing them free rice and other essential commodities,” Sastrigal added.
The distressed priests in Rameswaram are now hoping that the government would come forward and provide them with financial assistance. (ANI)