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Govt awaiting Centre's guidelines on opening up religious places for devotees: Kerala CM


Thiruvananthapuram, June 04: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said a "detailed strategy" for opening up religious places and places of worship for devotees will be prepared by the state government only after the Centre announces its guidelines on it. He said even though the centre has announced that places of worshipcan open from June 8, they have not yet issued any guidelines regarding it.

Pinarayi Vijayan

"The state government will prepare a detailed strategy for opening up religious places and places of worship only after the Centre Government announces its guidelines on the same," the chief minister said.

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    A video conference was held today with the spiritual heads of different religions and leaders of various religious organisations and institutions and discussions were held on opening up religious places to devotees, Vijayan said.

    The Opposition Congress has been demanding that the government allow devotees to enter temples after the centre on May 30 said that places of worship can be opened. Vijayan said the centre hasbanned the gathering of people following the outbreak of COVID-19, including those that are part of political and social programmes, worship services at religious places, and festivals related to it.

    "We know that large crowds must be avoided to prevent the spread of disease.As we are exiting the lockdown, we need a clear strategy on opening these places of worship without large gathering. All thereligious leaders agreed with the government's stance that the restoration of normalcy in places of worship would lead to a large crowd and in the present situation, it would increase the spread of the disease," Vijayan said. He said the religious leaders were also of the opinion that all precautions should be taken, including limiting the number of believers who visit these places.

    Vijayan saidthe religious leaders put forth a number of practical suggestions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in places of worship and the state would put forth the suggestions before the centre. He said senior citizens, children and the sick should avoid visiting religious places as they are more susceptible to the infection and if infected, it would be difficult to treat them. Places of worship in the state has remained closed for devotees since March 24, when the national lockdown was announced to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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