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Punjab government allows langar, prasad distribution at religious places

On Tuesday, the state government realised that the Centre had in its June 6 orders stated that community kitchens could be run following social distancing norms and hygiene.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
June 9, 2020 9:06:05 pm
All community kitchens can now operate provided all social distancing norms are followed. (Express Photo)

A day after Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh hit out at the Akalis and urged Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to take up with the Centre the issue of prohibiting langar and prasad distribution at religious places, the state government on Tuesday quietly issued orders allowing the same after realising that Centre guidelines had already permitted distribution.

Amarinder’s attack on the Akalis came after langar and prasad was distributed at the Golden Temple in Amritsar Monday, in defiance of the state government’s earlier prohibition of the same, and a few leaders hit out at the state government for “meddling” with Sikh affairs and not allowing prasad which was a part of “maryada”.

On Tuesday, the government realised that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had in its June 6 orders stated that community kitchens could be run following social distancing norms and hygiene.

In orders issued Tuesday, Punjab Home Secretary Satish Chandra has stated that the distribution of langar and prasad was prohibited in the earlier order, but now a decision has been taken to allow community kitchens, preparation and distribution of langar and prasad provided all social distancing norms and Covid hygiene practices are followed by religious places.

The state government had earlier imposed stricter restrictions via its orders for Unlock 1.0, including prohibiting distribution of prasad, and not allowing restaurants to have dine-in facility.

Amarinder had on Monday issued a statement hitting out at Akalis that the government had never believed in interfering with the customs and practices of any religion. “How could the state government be held responsible for prohibiting prasad distribution at gurdwaras or other places of worship when the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued SOPs to be followed by religious places, under the directives of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs?” the CM had asked.

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