Shillong(Meghalaya), June 6: Places of worship in the State will reopen on June 14.
This was decided during a meeting convened by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma with religious leaders to discuss matters related to the reopening of religious places and places of worship in the State.
The meeting was also attended by Dy. Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, Cabinet Ministers Lahkmen Rymbui and Hamletson Dohling and senior government officials.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Minister made it clear that health and safety of people is of utmost priority and urged all to adhere to the SOPs and safety protocols laid by the Government, to contain the spread of Covid-19 post reopening of places of worship. “It is our collective responsibility to ensure maximum safety and at this point in time we need to keep health a priority in whatever we do,” he said.
After thorough deliberation and inputs from representatives from various religious organisations it was decided that places of worship in Meghalaya will reopen from June 14, to give adequate time needed on preparations for the implementation of safety protocols in these places.
“Why June 14 because it takes lots of time for the religious leaders to go down to the grassroot to explain,” Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong said .
According to the Deputy Chief Minister, the religious leaders of various faiths need to convince the believers and followers about the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that will be in place and which will also be needed to adhered to after the reopening of these places of worship.
Tynsong added that the draft SOP is in place and was discussed during the meeting.
He informed that the draft SOPs have been circulated to the religious leaders and that they have agreed to at least 85-90 per cent of the clauses.
“But a few more issues are there as far as a few clauses of the draft SOP are concerned. We will improve it and by tomorrow we will be able to send it to the respective religious leaders,” Tynsong said.
Meanwhile, Rev Himanshu of the All Saints Cathedral Church wanted to know from the government how many people can congregate at any given time keeping social distancing in mind and if the SOPs can be translated into the local languages so that the rural people can be apprised of these.
Central Puja Committee (CPC) president, Naba Bhattacharjee meanwhile said that though the CPC had already followed the protocols including social distancing in all temples. In spite of this, he said that there is a need to come up with certain protocols on the number of people who can be present at the same time in the temple especially when religious festivals are organised.
Shillong Muslim Union Assistant General Secretary, Noor Nongrum said that all masjids would inform about the size of the mosques to ensure that faithful adhere to the protocols.
The appointment of a nodal officer as a one point contact for the implementation of SOPs in religious places and places of worship was also proposed in the meeting.
By special arrangement with Highland Post.
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