Nagpur/Mumbai:Maharashtra government on Saturday allowed temples and other religious places to reopen from Monday. The government headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has urged citizens to follow social distancing and COVID-19 protocols while entering religious places.
Thackeray had last week said that temples and places of worship in the state will reopen soon. He had also hinted at the reopening of schools for Classes 9 to 12 after Diwali. “We are considering to reopen schools after Diwali while taking all precautionary measures. Religious places will also be allowed to open.”
The chief minister had said he was getting flak for going slow on reopening of places of religious worship. “We are being careful and not re-opening temples as people will queue up. I am delaying reopening of temples to curb the spread of coronavirus. I am ready to face criticism and those critics will not come forward to take responsibility if virus infection increases,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
This came a month after exchange of letters between Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari and Thackeray over the issues. Last month, Koshyari wrote a scathing letter to the chief minister, questioning him regarding the reopening of temples in the state.
Koshyari mentioned that he has received three representations demanding that places of worship be reopened.
“It is ironic that while on one hand, the State government has permitted the opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, on the other hand, our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown,” Koshyari wrote in his letter.
He further mocked Uddhav and asked, “I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of the places of worships time and again or have you suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourself, the term you hated?”
In a respose to Koshyari’s letter, Uddhav said he does not need a “certificate” on Hindutva from the Governor.
“As imposing lockdown all of a sudden was not right, revoking it completely at once will also be not a good thing. And yes, I am someone who follows Hindutva, my Hindutva doesn’t need verification from you,” he said.
“My Hindutva does not permit me to welcome home a person who called my Maharashtra or Mumbai Pakistan occupied Kashmir,” Uddhav added.
Opposition BJP has been demanding the reopening of temples in the state that have been shut since March as coronavirus lockdown came into force.