Maharashtra govt announces reopening of religious places from November 16

Places of worship have remained closed across Maharashtra since March 25, when the nation went into a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. 

In another step towards unlocking the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saturday announced that his government has decided to re-open the places of religious worship from November 16.

Places of worship have remained closed across the state since March 25, when the nation went into a lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

Thackeray said that although places of worship were closed during the pandemic, god was taking care of all devotees in the form of doctors, nurses and other health staff.

As Maharashtra continued to have the highest number of active Covid cases, Thackeray said that once the religious places of worship are reopened from Diwali Padwa, which falls on Monday, Covid safety protocols have to be followed strictly by all.

Extending his Diwali greetings to people, CM Thackeray said, “We can’t forget that the demon coronavirus is still amongst us. Even though this demon is slowly falling silent now, we cannot be complacent. Citizens need to follow discipline.”

“Just like discipline and restraint were observed while celebrating Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri and Pandharpur wari (annual pilgrimage), followers of other faiths also celebrated festivals like Eid, Mount Mary festival by keeping the COVID-19 safety protocol in mind,” he said.

The Maharashtra government has been facing backlash from the BJP due to the delay in opening the religious places even as the unlock process across the country had begun in June. Last month, state’s Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari even mocked Thackeray as “secular” over the issue. Thackeray had hit back saying he did not need his Hindutva credentials certified by Koshyari and also reminded him that the word “secular” is in the Constitution he had sworn to protect when he took the oath of office in Raj Bhavan.

Earlier this week, Thackeray had said that his government would reopen places of worship across the state soon after Diwali festivities and was ready to face any criticism for the welfare of his state till then.

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