Place of worship in Meghalaya
Representative image.

Meghalaya government has reversed its earlier decision on re-opening of places of worship in the state.

On June 5, the government decided to re-open places of worship from June 14 with strict protocols.

However, after consulting representatives of various religious organizations on Tuesday, the state government decided not to go ahead with the re-opening of the places of worship.

“Based on the consultation with different religious organisations this afternoon, the Govt has decided to put on hold the reopening of religious institutions in #Meghalaya that was previously decided for the 14th of June, 2020,” chief minister Conrad K Sangma said on his Twitter handle.

All places of worship in the state have remained closed for the last two months owing to the national lockdown to combat against the COVID19 pandemic.

In fact, the state government has come out with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and circulated the same to all religious organizations.

As part of the Unlock 1 announced by the Union Home Ministry, the Union Health Ministery recently issued guidelines on the opening of places of worship.

“Shoes or footwear to be preferably taken off inside own vehicle,” the Union Health Ministry guidelines said.

Touching of statues idols and holy books are not allowed. Large gatherings will continue to remain prohibited, the Health Ministry directive said.

Recorded devotional music and songs recommended while inviting choirs or singing groups is not advisable, the Ministry said.

“Avoid physical contact while greeting each other. Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them,” said the guidelines.

“Physical offerings such as prasad distribution or sprinkling of holy water are not allowed. Community kitchens/langars will have to follow social distancing,” the guidelines furthwer said.

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