Central, state minister spar over Kerala opening places of worship
Unveiling the graded exit plan under Unlock 1, the central government had allowed reopening of places of worship for devotees, malls and restaurants from June 8 across the country.Updated: Jun 09, 2020 20:45 IST
A central minister questioned the Kerala government’s decision to open places of worship, eliciting a sharp response from the state minister, who then advised the former to check with the home ministry guidelines.
V Muraleedharan, minister of state for external affairs, termed the Kerala government’s move to open shrines “hasty”, adding the move will endanger lives of devotees. Hitting back, Kadakampally Surendran, state temple affairs minister, asked Muraleedharan to seek answers from home minister Amit Shah, whose ministry gave directions to this effect.
“It is sad the minister has no idea about decisions being taken by his government in Delhi. It is good for him to do some homework before attacking the state government. He is using all opportunities to portray the state in a bad light,” said Surendran, adding the state opened all shrines as per the directive of the Central government.
Unveiling the graded exit plan under Unlock 1, the central government had allowed reopening of places of worship for devotees, malls and restaurants from June 8 across the country. They have been shut since March 25, when the lockdown was first imposed to stem the spread of the disease.
Earlier, the union minister tweeted against the move, saying it will invite more trouble for the devotees.
“Its [Kerala’s] decision to open temples despite opposition from devotees seems suspicious - neither devotees nor temple committees demanded the opening of shrines,” he tweeted, adding, “What is the haste? Is this a deliberate attempt by the atheist government to denigrate devotees?”.
This is not the first time that the Union minister has attacked the state government, earlier he had locked horns with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the evacuation of expatriates from the middle-eastern countries.
Amid the verbal sparring, malls and restaurants opened in the state. Various temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) opened on Tuesday along with some churches and mosques in parts of the state. While the famous Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayoor opened its doors by following the stipulated norms laid down by the government, the Sree Padmanabha Swamy and Attukkal temples in the state capital were among those which remained shut.
The Viswa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Aikya Vedi and many outfits have asked devotees to wait for some more time.
Meanwhile, the state has reported 91 fresh cases taking the total to 2,096. Out of these, 53 are expatriates, 27 came from other states and 10 infected from primary contacts. The state has reported 17 deaths so far, said state health minister KK Shailaja’s office.