Tamil Nadu

Religious representatives suggest caution in reopening temples, mosques

Bishops’ Council favours reopening of churches

At a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam here on Wednesday, a section of representatives of the Hindu and Muslim communities suggested caution in reopening temples and mosques for the public, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council favoured the reopening of churches, subject to government regulations, at least from June 8 to celebrate the Holy Eucharist.

No decision was taken by the government at the meeting.

Swami Satyajnananda, secretary of Ramakrishna Mission Students Home, who was at the meeting, said a majority of Hindu representatives were for delaying the full-fledged reopening of places of worship, considering the number of COVID-19 cases in the city. He also suggested that the entry of devotees into places of worship could be allowed now, while the distribution of flowers and fruits or offerings could be permitted later on.

The Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, who also attended the meeting, said, “Let us wait and watch for a month as to how the novel coronavirus spreads, and then decide on the reopening of mosques, since the virus is spreading more rapidly in Chennai when compared to the other districts of the State.” He also suggested delaying the reopening of schools and colleges since children and students were more prone to contracting the infection.

In its representation to the Chief Secretary, the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council requested him to reopen churches as soon as possible (at least from June 8), and permit the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, subject to the regulations of the State government.

“If you feel that the reopening of churches throughout Tamil Nadu is not possible immediately, you may permit [their reopening] at least in the seven zones except the zone of Chennai,” said Most Rev. Dr. Antony Pappusamy, president of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council.

Representatives of the Sikh and Jain communities were also present at the meeting.

Even among representatives of a particular religion, there were a range of suggestions made to the State government, informed sources said.

Revenue Secretary Atulya Misra, Home Secretary S.K. Prabakar, Director General of Police J.K. Tripathy, Chennai Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan and other senior officials took part in the meeting.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 2:58:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/religious-representatives-suggest-caution-in-reopening-temples-mosques/article31742812.ece

Next Story