Panaji, June 6 (IANS) Mosques in Goa will continue to remain shut at least till June 30 and even churches in the coastal state will not reopen on June 8, even though Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had given the go-ahead for reopening of religious places as per central government guidelines.
Association of All Goa Muslim Jamaats President Shaikh Bashir Ahmed said the decision to continue with closure of mosques was taken due to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases in the state.
“In Goa, since June 1, corona positive cases have been on the rise. We have touched almost 196 cases (including those who are cured) in the past one week and it is an alarming spike in cases,” a statement issued by the Association said.
“We have decided to delay the reopening of all masjids in the state till June 30 for the safety of members of our community and society,” the statement added, urging mosque committee members to ensure closure of mosques to prevent community transmission.
Goa’s Roman Catholic Church’s Diocesan Centre for Social Communications media wing said: “We would like to inform our priests and faithful that we are critically assessing the coronavirus-related situation… therefore, we are not in a position to declare our places of worship open from June 8.”
“When we eventually decide to open up, with prudence, vigilance and careful discernment, it will be in consonance with the state government’s SOPs, which we expect to receive by then,” the statement added.
Catholic and Muslims account for nearly a third of the state’s 1.5 million population.
The state has 130 active cases at present, including nearly two third from South Goa’s Vasco town.
On Friday, Sawant had said that places of worship could open on June 8, provided no mass gatherings or group prayers were held on their premises.