The Ram Lalla idol in Ayodhya was shifted to a temporary new location on Wednesday at a ceremony attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who faced opposition flak for seemingly violating norms meant to beat coronavirus.
The shifting of the idol clears the site to begin construction of a Ram temple.
The idol was placed on a 9.5-kg silver throne at the new structure, where it would remain till the construction of the Ram temple is completed on the site allotted for it by the Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in November.
The rituals involved in the shifting had begun Monday.
They ended early Wednesday at a ceremony attended by Adityanath and a small group of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders.
The local administration did not allow people to gather on the occasion as a lockdown has been imposed across the country to check the spread of coronavirus.
The chief minister also offered prayers in the presence of Ram Mandir Trust secretary Champat Rai. He donated Rs 11 lakh in his personal capacity for the construction of the temple.
Opposition parties later criticised Adityanath, saying he had not presented a good example by taking part in the ceremony.
"Yogi is telling people not to go to temples and mosques, and in view of the coronavirus epidemic this is absolutely right. But the chief minister himself is flouting what he is saying, Samajwadi Party's state president Naresh Uttam said.
Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Amarnath Agarwal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Adityanath had themselves said people should not go to temples, mosques or gurdwaras, and instead say their prayers at home.
"But the chief minister is himself going against what he has said, the Congress leaders added.
It would have been better had Adityanath worshipped at home and set an example, he added.
Aam Aadmi Party's state unit president Sabhajit Singh said responsible people are not following appeals they are making.
He said even if all precautions were taken at the event, there would have been some people present there.
There would also have been officials in large numbers during the chief minister's programme. It would have been better had the chief minister postponed this programme, Singh added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)