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Delhi: In festive season, many places of worship to stay shut, others limit number of devotees

The Delhi Waqf Board has also appealed to clerics of around 150-200 mosques that come under its aegis to follow Covid-19 protocols.

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi |
April 13, 2021 9:56:42 am
A priest sanitises a temple in New Delhi. (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

With Navratri and the Ramzan beginning Tuesday, many temples and mosques in Delhi are proposing to enforce Covid-19 protocols during prayer time, make online arrangements to control crowding, or are planning to shut down the premises.

On Sunday the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) prohibited all social, political, sports, entertainment, cultural and religious gatherings in view of the rise in Covid-19 cases.

During Navratri, many temples across the city see increased footfall. Some temples have decided to shut down premises or limit the number of devotees allowed inside.

CEO of Chhatarpur Temple Kishore Kumar said, “In accordance with Covid-19 guidelines and in public interest, we have decided to keep the temple closed for 9-days of the Navratri festival.”

Kul Bhushan Ahuja, general secretary of the Jhandelwala Devi temple at Paharganj, said: “Generally, we get 10,000-15,000 devotees on Tuesday and Sunday; this increases to around 60,000 on Navratri. We cannot maintain social distancing for so many people, and nor can we be selective – so we have decided to shut the temple for the 9-days. We will telecast the pujas on Facebook and YouTube.”

Peethasin Mahant Surendra Nath of the Kalkaji temple said, “We are allowing devotees in specific time slots – around 25-30 per group for one darshan – for which they shall have to apply for an e-pass online. We are following protocols inside the temple such as sanitisation and social distancing.”

At Kali Mandir in Chittaranjan Park, administrative officer Santi Mazumdar said, “We allow visitors only from 9-12.30 in the morning and 6-9 pm, and get around 100 people daily. We are following all protocols and shall follow the same during Navratri too.”

The Delhi Waqf Board has also appealed to clerics of around 150-200 mosques that come under its aegis to follow Covid-19 protocols. An official from the Board said, “The fast from early morning to evening is done at home – and it is during the taraweeh reading, after the last azaan of the day, when many devotees come to the mosques. We have appealed to clerics to maintain social distancing and other protocols during this time, as well as to encourage people to read the taraweeh at home.”

Mosques not under the Delhi Waqf Board, such as the Fatehpuri mosque in Chandni Chowk, are also appealing to devotees to stay home. Dr Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, the Shahi Imam of the mosque, said, “Our religion gives permission to devotees to read the taraweeh at home, as it is the period of Covid-19. We are also appealing to people to wear masks, maintain social distancing when they come, and telling them that they can stay at home; and that the Covid-19 illness is not to be taken lightly.”

He added, “There have been no such guidelines that the government has taken out for religious places of worship, even so, fewer people are coming to the mosque these days.”

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