October 14, 2021 9:17:58 pm
The Tamil Nadu government Thursday allowed places of worship to be kept open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The decision comes after a PIL was filed in the Madras High Court seeking directions to keep temples open on the auspicious Vijayadasami day. Hearing the plea, the vacation bench of Justices R Mahadevan and Abdul Quddhose had said they leave the decision to the government.
On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin held a meeting with health experts and other higher officials on measures to stem Covid-19 spread, and in a statement Thursday, said along with temples opening for weekends, all shops and hotels will be kept open till 11 pm, as people need to shop in the festival season.
Tuition centres, government and private employment camps have also been allowed to function.
From November 1, private exhibitions are allowed following Covid-19 guidelines. Playschools, kindergarten schools, anganwadi centres can operate fully. Guardians, cooks, and others have to be double vaccinated.
The public can now visit beaches on Sundays as well. The maximum number of people allowed at weddings has been capped at 100, and for cremations and burials, the limit has been capped at 50.
Prohibition on social, political and cultural gatherings, festivals, the consecration of places of worship will remain.
The Chief Minister has asked the public to follow Covid preventive guidelines like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, etc. He said strict action will be taken against violators.
Further, Stalin said that the festival season increases chances of crowding, and hence all district administration, Great Chennai Corporation, local bodies and the police personnel should implement necessary preventive measures.
On October 7, the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP staged a protest in front of major temples in the state, urging the government to keep them open on weekends. Places of worship were earlier allowed to stay open Monday to Thursday. The BJP workers raised slogans against the DMK government, claiming it is showing “spiritual animosity” through the restrictions and “thrusting its ideology” on the public.
Tamil Nadu BJP president Annamalai said “without hurting the sentiments of devotees and earning their wrath”, the government should allow people to enter the places of worship on weekends. He said if the government fails to implement this within 10 days, the BJP will stage an agitation at the 4.5 lakh temples across the state.
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