The Golden Temple resumed its langar and distributed “prasad” among devotees as it reopened on Monday, defying the centre’s guidelines under Unlock1. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal on Sunday had urged the state government to review its guidelines prohibiting the offering of “prasad” and langar at places of worship, saying they have ensured complete hygiene at the community kitchen centre.
However, centre’s Unlock1 guidelines clearly bars the distribution of ‘prasad’, food or ‘langar’ (community kitchen) at religious places.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who had earlier described the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee as “a tool” in the hands of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said the state government cannot be held responsible for the ban on distribution of ‘prasad’ and resumption of ‘langar’ since the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were issued by the Union Home Ministry.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, as a Union Minister, should have put her foot down and insisted on allowing distribution of ‘prasad‘ instead of wrongly blaming the state government, Captain Singh said.
Meanwhile, other places of worship and shopping malls also reopened in the state after over two and half months while adhering to the guidelines issued by the centre under Unlock1.
At the Golden Temple, devotees underwent thermal screening before entering the shrine. 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 rules 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.
At Ludhiana, the Jama Masjid reopened with the management of the mosque ensuring social distancing, thermal screening and hand hygiene.
(With inputs from PTI)