Meghalaya govt will decide opening of places of worship: SAFE

SHILLONG: The Shillong All Faith Association (SAFF) has entrusted the responsibility of opening up places of worship in the hands of the state government.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with the Chief Secretary M.S. Rao on Wednesday, Bishop P. Lyngdoh said, “We want to make things clear that SAFF is not pressurising the government to open up places of worship. It is not our prerogative to open up the Churches and it is the prerogative of the government, whenever the government decides to open it, it will be done as per the SOPs”.

The SAFF leaders have met the CS on Wednesday for the re-examination of the SOPs and the subsequent finalization.

“The recommendations that we have made from our side  have been taken in and amalgamated with the SOPs of the government”, he said.

Based on the SOPs of the government, the SAFF have added few things and suggestions. For example, the number of attendees in any place of worship has been decided to be 1/3 of the space available and not 100 attendees as per the previous SOPs.

The leaders also felt that services can be held in the Church compound as well since there are compounds attached to the Church building so instead of having a service inside services can be held outside also not simultaneously but at different times.

Lyngdoh pointed to the Government SOPs which stated that names will have to be submitted in advance for special ceremonies like baptism or any other special ceremonies. To this, he said that it is not convenient to do so but the Church will maintain the record and as and when required the Church will give the same to the state government.

With the Puja festival next month, member of Central Puja Committee (CPC), Naba Bhattacharjee said the respective Deputy Commissioners (DCs) will take a call on the annual festivals such as Puja, Christmas and All Souls Day.

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