Places of worship to open soon in Maharashtra; CM to issue guidelines after Diwali
Mumbai/ IBNS: The Maharashtra government on Sunday signalled that all places of worship in the state may reopen after Diwali as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he will release the guidelines after Diwali, reported media.
The decision has come after the state government faced resistance from various fronts and political parties over its decision to keep places of worship closed even as almost all establishments have been opened as the country moved to unlock phase after strict lockdown was imposed in March last in view of Covid-19.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have been demanding the reopening of places of worship for quite some time, AIMIM Member of Parliament from Aurangabad Imtiaz Jaleel and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Prakash Ambedkar have threatened to launch an agitation over the matter, said a Hindustan Times report.
Dismissing criticisms, Thackeray said he is cautious for the senior citizens who visit the religious places.
All SOPs have to be strictly followed and overcrowding will not be allowed, he said, adding that wearing of masks would be compulsory.
A covid positive person not wearing a mask can infect at least 400 people, he said referring to doctors' numbers, reported NDTV.
"You have all co-operated with us since Holi... and hence we are a bit stress-free. But I am a bit worried about the second wave. So far we have celebrated all festivals carefully and indoors, so I want to request you to celebrate Diwali this way as well," he said, while also pointing out a potential second wave of infection triggered by lack of social distancing during festive season, the report quoted him as saying.
He also referred to Delhi, where Covid-19 cases have risen steeply over the past 10 days.
"In Delhi we are seeing a peak. They say it is because of an increase in pollution... I haven't been there but that's what they say. So I would like to request you don't burst crackers during Diwali," he said, the report added.
Last month, Thackeray in a sharp retort to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who asked him in a letter if he had turned a secular as the places of worship continued to remain closed, had said he did not need a certificate to prove his Hindutva and the government would take a decision on this only after due consideration.
Coronavirus cases in Maharashtra have been falling steadily with 17,14,273 total Covid-19 cases out of which 99,151 were active cases as of saturday. The death toll stood at 45,115 since the beginning of the pandemic.