Not in position to open immediately, say authorities of Bengal religious institutions
Though the West Bengal government has allowed places of worship of all faiths to reopen from Monday, authorities of the religious institutions on Sunday said they will need more time to put in place necessary safety mechanisms before opening the doors of the shrines for devotees.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday announced reopening of all religious institutions in the state from June 1. The permission,however, put a condition that only 10 people can go inside a shrine at a time.
The religious establishments have been shut since March 25 when the lockdown was imposed to break the chain of coronavirus.
The authorities of the renowned 19th century Dakshineswar temple, built by Rani Rashmoni in the northern fringes of Kolkata said, they will need some time to abide by the safety guidelines and make arrangements for sanitisation.
“We have to put a mechanism in place in consultation with the administration. There are so many safety issues involved. We have to chalk out a system to take into account these factors before opening,” Trustee and secretary of the temple, Kushal Choudhury said.
A spokesperson of the Belur Math - Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission said, “The temple complex cannot be opened before 15-20 days. We will decide on the next steps after taking all precautions and assessing the situation.” Taranath Mukhopadhay, a member of the Tarapith temple committee, one of the centuries-old Kali temples and a Shakti Peeth in Birbhum district, said, “We will assess the situation on June 14 and decide accordingly.” “We need to have a sanitiser tunnel, thermal guns and other safety devices in place before throwing open the premises to devotees,” Mukhopadhay said.
The Bengal Imams’ Association said in a statement that it has asked 26,000 mosque committees to wait till there was a clarity on the chief minister’s statement on allowing ten people at a time in a religious institution.
“The prayers at mosques with three-four people will continue to be held. We need to observe the situation for some more time. We don’t have any intention to stop namaz.” “People will pray in their homes. We only need to assess the situation,” the statement signed by the chairman of the body, Mohammad Yahia said.
The statement was also signed by the imams of several prominent mosques in Kolkata.
Father Dominic Gomes of the Archdiocese of Kolkata said, “We welcome the decision but all the safety guidelines need to be followed. We hope to put in place all the measures before allowing 10 people at a time in our churches.” He said they are hopeful of putting in place the mechanism by June 1 with the help of the devout and the staff. PTI SUS ACD SNS RHL