Meghalaya government withdraws order on reopening of places of worship

The COVID-19 tally in the state rose to 40 on Tuesday as four new positive cases were reported since Monday.

The Meghalaya government has withdrawn its earlier order to allow reopening of places of worship and religious institutions from June 14 as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state continues to rise.

The COVID-19 tally in the state rose to 40 on Tuesday as four new positive cases were reported since Monday.

“We have withdrawn our previous order allowing places of worships to open, in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state,” Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was quoted as saying in reports.

While urging the people in the state to adhere to safety protocols announced by the government to help contain the spread of COVID-19, the state government on Friday announced that churches and other places of worship in the state would be allowed to resume normal services from June 14.

However, the government decided against reopening places of worship as many churches in the state have expressed concern, saying congregating could expose people to the risk of coronavirus transmission and increase the spread. Following it, the chief minister met religious leaders in the state and tweeted on Tuesday: "Based on consultations with different religious organisations this afternoon, the Govt has decided to put on hold the reopening of religious institutions in #Meghalaya that was previously decided for the 14th of June".

While nirmal services may not be feasipble as of now, online services will continue until people feel safe to come to church, Unitarian Union of North East India president D P Pariat said.

It may be mentioned that the chief minister had on Friday said, “It is our collective responsibility to ensure maximum safety and at this point in time we need to keep health a priority in whatever we do”.

First Published:June 11, 2020, 10:51 a.m.