Karnataka Hindu Religious Organisations and Endowments Minister, Kota Srinivasa Poojary on Wednesday dropped a hint that he was in discussions with the state Covid task force and other departments to reopen temples in a phased manner after July 5.
Poojary told reporters that the government is likely to give permission to reopen ‘A’ grade temples across the state in the first phase of reopening of temples.
Among the government’s notified 34,558 temples, there are only a select few which fall in the ‘A’ grade category which attracts huge devotees.
The minister added that the state government is contemplating the pros and cons of reopening of temples as due to prolonged lockdown, it might just throw open floodgates to devotees and the state government is also worried about the fact that temples shouldn’t be the super spreaders of this deadly virus.
Poojary conceded that there has been a lot of pressure from a cross-section of people to reopen temples as several claim that they need to carry out their pujas and rituals.
“But it is also equally true that we need to reopen the temples in a phased manner to avoid overcrowding,” he said in response to a question and added that it is being discussed on how the devotees can be allowed into the temples, how rituals and other programs can be performed.
After the second wave of the pandemic hit the state, Karnataka had announced the two-week ‘Corona Curfew’ on April 27, however, as the Covid cases, as well as deaths, continued to spiral, Karnataka had to announce strict lockdown measures from May 4 till June 18. Post-June 19, Karnataka has resorted to the lifting of Covid induced curbs across the state in a phased manner, and several ministers including the chief minister, B.S. Yediyurappa had been advocating more relaxations after July 5 stating that as the pandemic is declining in the state and its benefits must be passed on to the common man as well and help those in distress.