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SGPC Authorities Defy Covid-19 Lockdown Guidelines, Offer Langar at Golden Temple

Amritsar: File photo of the Golden Temple (Image: PTI)

Amritsar: File photo of the Golden Temple (Image: PTI)

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Sunday had urged the government to review its guidelines prohibiting the offering of 'prasad' and langar at places of worship.

The Golden Temple restarted its langar and distributed 'prasad' among devotees as it reopened on Monday, defying the Punjab government's lockdown guidelines.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Sunday had urged the government to review its guidelines prohibiting the offering of 'prasad' and langar at places of worship.

According to the guidelines, there shall be no distribution of 'prasad', food or 'langar' (community kitchen) at religious places.

The SGPC authorities said they ensured complete hygiene at the community kitchen centre.

Meanwhile, other places of worship and shopping malls also reopened after a gap of more than two and half months while adhering to the guidelines issued by the state government.

At the Golden Temple, devotees underwent thermal screening before entering the shrine.

Various teams of doctors were deputed at the entry points of the shrine, officials said.

An SGPC task force ensured hand hygiene before allowing entry to devotees.

All norms of social distancing were strictly followed, they said.

"I am very happy to be here again. We pray that with the blessing of the almighty, the world gets rid of this coronavirus disease," said a devotee at the Golden Temple.

However, on the first day of reopening, the usual rush of devotees was not visible.

Religious places shall remain open between 5 am and 8 pm in the state.

At Ludhiana, the Jama Masjid reopened with the management of the mosque ensuring social distancing, thermal screening and hands hygiene.

Shopping malls also reopened in Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar. Customers were allowed to enter the malls only if they had downloaded state government's COVA application on their mobile phones. The app has been developed by the state government to provide people with preventive care information and other government advisories.

Though not many people were visible at shopping malls, a token system was put in place for the entry of people.

An official of a mall in Ludhiana said they have put in place all measures to ensure social distancing.

According to the guidelines, the managements of shopping malls will ensure that not more than 50 per cent of the maximum capacity shall at any point of time enter the mall.

People can't try clothes and accessories at shops in shopping malls.

At restaurants, only takeaway and home delivery is allowed as of now. No dine-in facility has been permitted.

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