File image of a Presbyterians church in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya government has announced that the places of worship in the state can be re-opened from June 14.

The decision was taken during a meeting with representatives of various religious organizations chaired by chief minister Conrad K Sangma in Shillong on Friday.

Deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong, home minister Lahkmen Rymbui, Urban affairs minister Hamletson Dohling, chief secretary M S Rao also attended the meeting.

Tynsong informed that a draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place and the same will be circulated to all religious organizations after fine tuning it.

He said the religious leaders would reach out to their members and believers and 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 organizations 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 All Saints’ Cathedral 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 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 organized.

According to Bhattacharjee, the government has also decided to appoint a nodal officer who will interact with religious groups for all other issues.

Shillong Muslim Union assistant general secretary Noor Nongrum said all masjids would inform about the size of the mosques to ensure that faithfuls adhere to the protocols.

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