Maharashtra Chief Minister UddhavThackeray on Saturday said the places of religious worshipacross the state, which were shut since the COVID-19 lockdownin March, will reopen from Monday.
Thackeray said this in a statement.
Extending greetings to people on the occasion ofDiwali, he said, “We cant forget that the demon coronavirusis still amongst us. Even though this demon is slowly fallingsilent now, we cannot be complacent. Citizens need to followdiscipline.” “Just like discipline and restraint were observedwhile celebrating Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi,Navratri andPandharpur wari (annual pilgrimage), followers of other faithsalso celebrated festivals like Eid, Mount Mary festival bykeeping the COVID-19 safety protocol in mind,” he said.
The chief minister said that although places ofreligious worship had to be shut during the pandemic, god wastaking care of all devotees in the form of doctors, nurses andother health staff.
He said that after the religious places of worship arereopened from Diwali Padwa that falls on Monday,rules andsafety protocol have to be followed strictly.
“Crowding will have to avoided. The reopening ofreligious places is not a government order, but the wish ofthe Almighty. Shoes will have to kept outside the premises andwearing masks is mandatory,” he said.
“If we follow discipline, we will get Godsblessings,” Thackeray said.
The chief minister was repeatedly being targeted bythe opposition BJP for keeping the places of worship shut evenas the Unlock process began in June.
However, Thackeray had defended his decision saying itwas difficult to follow physical distancing at the places ofworship.
During his last webcast address to citizens, he hadsaid that standard operating procedures (SOPs) were beingprepared and the decision on reopening of these places will betaken after Diwali.
The issue had also led to a standoff between Thackerayand Governor B S Koshyari, who reminded the Shiv Senapresident of his Hindutva credentials and asked if he hadturned secular.
The governors letter to the chief minister wascriticised by the MVA allies.
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