There being no respite from the rising cases of Covid-19 infections and fatalities, the authorities in Amritsar, one of the 11 worst-affected districts, will now talk to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee and Durgiana Temple management to encourage devotees to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
Earlier this week, the administration had imposed a cap on social gatherings in the district and organisers were asked to insure that those attending the events should carry a Covid negative report or are vaccinated.
“We will hold meetings with the SGPC and Durgiana Temple management and ask them to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines are followed. We can understand if someone wants to remove the mask inside the Golden Temple while paying obeisance, but otherwise devotees should keep the mask on while moving in the shrine premises,” said Amritsar DC Gurpreet Singh Khaira.
On religious gatherings, the DC said that they will soon talk to the heads of religion bodies. “Sometimes people argue that there are no restrictions at religious places. So, we will tell the heads of the religious bodies that right message should go to the masses,” said Khaira.
Contacted, SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur said they will take all the precautions. “We will ask devotees to follow protocol. But religious gatherings can’t be cancelled. We are celebrating 400th birth anniversary of Guru Teg Buhadur Ji. Our programmes are scheduled inside and outside Punjab. If government wants to ban religious gatherings, then it should pass such an order,” she said.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal (Taksali) spokesperson Karnail Singh Peermohammad demanded that the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, closed for over a year now, should be opened for the devotees “keeping in view the sentiments of Sikhs.”