Hyderabad: When the sun rises on Monday, it is expected to bring hope for the faithful with several places of worship in Hyderabad gearing up open their gates to people after a two-and-a-half month lockdown.
While many small temples are expected to reopen too on Monday, the Chilkur Balaji temple will keep its doors closed. Temple chief priest C.S. Rangarajan said that there were no plans to open the temple on June 8.
“The situation with coronavirus is serious, and the temple had locked down on March 19, much before the Prime Minister called for one,” he said. “All the regular pujas and services are being offered behind closed doors.”
Managing people appears to remain a challenge.
The Centenary Church at Nampally has more than 20,000 members in its congregation. “Services are held in five languages. Managing that kind of a congregation with the standard operating procedures seems impossible,” Bishop M.A. Daniel, Resident Bish-op of the Hyderabad Regional Conference, said.
Bishop Daniel who on Friday met with the heads of district churches said: “There have been so many questions on how to manage the congregations.” He added “we have arranged another meeting with medical experts to get more clarity on how to conduct services.”
Meanwhile, director, minorities welfare, Shahnawz Qasim has called for a meeting on Saturday to review arrangements at the Macca masjid and the Shahi masjid for their reopening on Monday. Operational guidelines are expected to be issued after the meeting.
There is some unanimity among the mosque heads not to allow children and the elderly, making wearing of masks mandatory and asking people to perform pre-prayer ablutions at home. To the extent possible, separate entries and exits are being planned while toilets may be shut. Some mosques that see very little footfall will not offer dawn prayers and will only open from 1 pm to 9 pm.
Mosques in remote areas or non-residential areas with no demand for evening prayers may close earlier.
Moulana Khurram Jamai of Masjid Sahaba in Shaheennagar said “our elders asked the custodians and managements of the Ahle Hadees mosques to get ready for reopening of mosques and follow the suggestions of both the Union and state governments and ensure hygiene. Prayer carpets have been removed and plans are on to offer prayers 5 times a day.”
Mutawalli of the Dargah Hazrat Yousufain, Moulana Abul Fateh Shah Hasan Shabbir Mohammed Al-Hussaini, in a letter to the Wakf Board, sought fixing of aluminium nets around the graves to avoid people from touching the graves. He said, “sacrament will not be distributed and the women will not be allowed to sit inside the premises. No niyaz (offerings) will be allowed.”...