Can’t allow sanitisers in temples, has alcohol: Bhopal priest
A priest in a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal has said he is against the use of sanitisers at places of religious worship, which will open on Monday, June 8, in the first phase of Centre’s Unlock 1 plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) which include physical distancing of at least six feet, mandatory use of face covers; frequent hand washing with soaps for at least 40-60 seconds, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers and covering mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.
“The task of government is to issue the guidelines but I am against the sanitiser machine in the temples because it contains alcohol,” Chandrashekhar Tiwari, the priest of Bhopal Maa Vaishnavadham Nav Durga Temple, said, according to news agency ANI.
“When we cannot enter a temple after drinking alcohol, then how can we sanitise our hand with alcohol and go inside,” Tiwari added.
He then gave another option for people to maintain personal hygiene at public places.
“The machines for washing hands can be installed outside all the temples and soaps can be kept. We will accept that,” the priest said.
“Anyway, a person enters the temple only after taking a bath at home,” he said.
The Centre has said in its directives that shoes or footwear should be preferably taken off inside own vehicle. Touching of statues idols and holy books are not allowed.
Physical offerings such as prasad distribution or a sprinkling of holy water have not been allowed, the Centre has said.
Recorded devotional music and songs have been recommended but inviting choirs or singing groups is not advisable, it said
“Avoid physical contact while greeting each other. Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them,” said the guidelines.