Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said even though there have been demands to reopen temples and other places of worship as part of the ‘Unlock‘ process, his government is exercising caution on the issue.
Thackeray’s comments came in the wake of demands from the main opposition BJP and other parties that places of worship be re-opened since coronavirus-enforced restrictions are being eased under the “Unlock” process.
Last week, the BJP had organised a ‘Ghanta Naad (ringing of bells) programme as part of its protest against the government for not opening places of worship for the public.
The All India Majlis-e- Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) have also been pushing for reopening of shrines.
“As part of the Unlock process, we have restarted many activities. There are demands for the opening of temples and other places of worship. But we have to exercise caution,” the chief minister said.
Thackeray was speaking at a meeting held to review the COVID-19 situation in Western Maharashtra.
He said the recent spurt in COVID-19 cases in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur districts was a cause of concern and added that the focus of authorities has now shifted from the Mumbai- Thane region to these places in Western Maharashtra.
Thackeray said the present times are challenging and now after rains, the administration will have to ensure the safety of citizens during upcoming festivals like Navratri, Dussehra and Diwali.
He said ‘chase the virus mission should be vigorously pursued and sought the cooperation of citizens in the fight against COVID-19 which has already infected more than eight lakh people in Maharashtra.