Shillong, Jun 5 : The Meghalaya government has decided to re-open places of worship from June 14 with strict protocols, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Friday. He said this decision was taken at a meeting with representatives of various religious organisations chaired by chief minister, Conrad Sangma in the main secretariat on Friday.
All places of worship in the state continue to remain closed for the past two months owing to the national lockdown to combat against the COVID-19 pandemic. “A draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place and the same will be circulated to all religious organizations after fine tuning it,” Tynsong said.
He informed that the draft SoPs has been circulated to the religious leaders at least 85-90 percent of the clauses were agreeable. "...but a few more issues are there as far as few clauses of the draft SOP is concerned. We will improve it and by Saturday we will be able to send it to the respective religious leaders," Tynsong further added. The Deputy Chief Minister said that the religious leaders would reach out to their members and believers, but they need to understand one thing that protocols have to be strictly followed while allowing the people to come to the place of worship to offer prayers.
During the meeting, various suggestions were given by representatives of religious organisations especially to fix the number of people who can assemble in any place of worship depending on the size be it churches, mosques, temples or other places of worship. Rev. Himanchu from Church of North India suggested to the government to also translate the SOPs into local languages as it would be helpful for the people in rural areas.
Central Puja Committee (CPC) president, Naba Bhattacharjee said that though the CPC had already followed the protocols including social distancing in all temples, however 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.
“The government has also decided to appoint a nodal officer who will interact with religious groups for all other issues,” Bhattacharjee informed. Shillong Muslim Union Assistant General Secretary, Noor Nongrum said that all masjids would inform about the size of the mosques to ensure that faithfuls adhere to the protocols. (UNI)