Mosques, churches differ even as Kerala temples to re-open

Even as the number of Covid-19 cases is rising not just in Kerala, but across the country, taking cue of the lockdown norms that have been eased, temples are now being cleaned to open from Tuesday, but churches and mosques differ.

According to the new norms, all places of worship have been given the permission to re-open from Tuesday, after ensuring that the entire place is sanitised.

The rules allow that none above aged 65 and below 10 years of age should be allowed entry.

N. Vasu, president of the Travancore Devasom Board – the body that owns 1,248 temples in the southern districts of the state said they will open all their temples to the devotees starting Tuesday.

“All the norms that have to be adhered to as stipulated by the government will be followed. Social distancing would be maintained and devotees will have to wait for their turn to enter the temple to pray,” said Vasu.

When it came to the Roman Catholic Church, the decision has been made by Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Mar George Lencherry, who has said that their churches will not open till June 30, but special services like weddings, baptisms and other rituals will take place as specified by the norms of the government.

The Kottayam headquartered Syrian Orthodox Church will be holding its synod — meeting of all the bishops on Tuesday to decide on what steps should be taken.

But the Cardinal Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, head of the capital city headquartered Syro Malankara Catholic Church, wished that the decision would allow all irrespective of the age to come to the church, when everything else is now being opened.

When it came to opening of mosques, the Malappurram district coordination committee of Muslims have decided not to open any of their mosques till the end of this month.

Another Muslim leader belonging to the Samastha wing of the AP faction said to open with the prescribed norms is a bit of a problem.

“One has to maintain a register besides all those who come to the mosques have to come clean from their homes itself. I doubt if one can follow all these guidelines so it’s better it remains closed at the moment,” said a senior Samstha leader.

The oldest mosque in the heart of the capital city has also decided not to open.

But some mosques like the Thiruvananthapuram Manacaud Valiyapalli Muslim Jamath have decided to open by fully abiding by the rules of the government, but have cautioned its believers to ensure that they are very careful not to breach any rules of the lockdown.

At Kannur, more than 100-year old mosque has also decided not to open.

“With these norms it’s difficult to go forward and it could lead to other problems as when the restrictions in numbers are there, many believers could be disillusioned, if some are allowed and some do not get the entry. So we will wait for a little more time,” said an office bearer attached to the City Mosque.

Meanwhile, the big temples like Sabarimala and Guruvayoor Sree Krishna have come out with a protocol restricting the number of devotees and prior registration has to be made by them to pray at the temples.

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