Millennium Post

Jharkhand allows 50 people at a time at places of worship

Ranchi/Ramgarh: The Jharkhand government has said a maximum of 50 people can enter a place of worship at a time and devotees must wear masks and maintain social distancing.

The state government allowed religious institutions to reopen after more than six months on Thursday.

Places of worship in areas other than containment zones can reopen and heads of these religious institutions must ensure adherence to the COVID-19 protocol, a notification issued by Chief Secretary Sukhdev Singh on Wednesday night said.

"Not more than 50 people will gather at a time at any place of worship and a distance of six feet between each devotee must be maintained," the notification said.

No fair or religious procession will be organised and only those devotees with masks will be allowed to enter the places of worship, it said.

The priests or clerics will have to wear masks and devotees should not hug each other or touch the idols, sacred texts or bells, the notification said.

People will have to bring mats from their homes and they cannot sit together to sing or speak. Priests cannot give 'prasad' to devotees or sprinkle water on them, it said.

Sanitiser will be kept at the entrance of the religious institutions and no person with coronavirus symptoms will be allowed to enter, the notification said.

Cafeterias and shops near the places of worship will also have to follow the COVID-19 protocol, it said.

Sanitisation of the floors of the religious institutions will have to be undertaken several times a day, the notification said.

Strict action will be taken against those violating the COVID-19 protocol, it added.

The Ramgarh district administration has made it mandatory for devotees to have online tokens to enter the renowned Chinnamastaka Temple at Rajrappa and offer prayers to the presiding deity.

The temple gates were opened for devotees at 5 am after a gap of more than six months.

Devotees can avail the tokens for free at to offer prayers to the goddess between 6 am and noon, while goat sacrifice will be allowed from 5-6 am and from noon to 2 pm, Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Singh said.

No one, even VIPs, will be allowed sans the online tokens, he said, adding adequate police personnel have been deployed at both the entry points to the temple via Chitarpur and Gola.

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