New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that places of worship in the state will reopen "soon" and detailed SOPs for their opening will be released after Diwali. Places of worship are closed in Maharashtra since March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thackeray said that the temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship in Maharashtra have not been allowed keeping in view the risk of virus infection to senior citizens who visit them.

According to medical experts, elderly people are among the high-risk group. Older people frequent religious places more often than youngsters and this was the reason Maharashtra chose to keep them closed. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had also written a letter to CM Thackeray over the issue and questioned his Hindutva over the delay.

In his letter the Maharashtra Governor had written, "I wonder if you're receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing re-opening or you've suddenly turned 'secular' yourselves, the term you hated?"

The Governor was criticised for the kind of language he used in the letter and even Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that Koshyari could have chosen his words more carefully.

The letter also angered CM Thackeray who told the Governor to honour his constitutional post and said that his Hindutva didn't need a certificate from him.

"As imposing lockdown all of a sudden was not right, revoking it completely at once will also be not a good thing. And yes, I am someone who follows Hindutva, my Hindutva doesn't need verification from you," Thackeray shot back.

Although the state government will issue its own SOPs, the Union government had in June issued coronavirus guidelines regarding the opening of religious places.

Below are some of the SOPs for religious places announced by the Union health ministry to contain the spread of coronavirus:

  • In view of the potential threat of the spread of the infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed.
  • No physical offerings like prasad/distribution or a sprinkling of holy water, etc should be allowed inside the religious place.
  • Community kitchens, langars, 'Ann-Daan' etc at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
  • All religious places to ensure hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and make thermal screening provisions at the entrance mandatorily. Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed in the premises and allowing those using face cover or masks.
  • Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc, outside and within the premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times.
  • Touching of statues, idols and holy books should not be allowed and large gatherings remain prohibited.
  • The management of the religious places must ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the floors and other surfaces.
  • In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises, the ill person should be placed in a room or area and isolated from others and the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) should be informed.

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma