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Cases against three places of worship for conducting prayers

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

A day after 12 people tested positive for coronavirus in Kerala, the police on Saturday filed cases against the authorities of three places of worship for conducting prayers and allowing crowds to gather in their premises despite directions not to do so, as part of measures against the virus spread.

Cases were filed by the police against the authorities of a temple, a mosque and a church for conducting prayers and allowing a crowd to gather in their respective premises.

The total number of infected persons in Kerala rose to 37 after 12 fresh cases were reported on Friday.

"A case has been registered against the administrative officer of the Valliankavu temple in Idukki district. The district administration had earlier issued notice to the temple authorities against the formation of crowd inside the temple during regular prayers," police said.

A senior police officer in Kasaragod district told PTI that a case has been registered against a mosque in the district for conducting prayers despite strict warning.

Meanwhile, Thrissur police has registered a case against the priest of St Antony's church at Ollur in the district.

"We had issued strict instructions not to allow any prayers enabling a crowd to gather inside the church. Now, a case has been registered against the priest of the church and other office-bearers for conducting a mass despite specific orders," police told PTI.

On Friday, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), in view of the directives of the central and state governments to prevent spread of novel coronavirus, had decided to stop holy mass with people's participation in churches under its control.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages temples in the state, on Saturday issued directions to temples under it in view of the Covid-19 spread.

The TDB has also decided to provide masks and gloves to all its staff in temples and restricted the timings of the temples.

The TDB, which met today, decided to restrict number of devotees till March 31, into temples controlled by it.

"Regular rituals and poojas will continue. Elephants will not be used for temple festivals untill further notice and the shrines will be remain open only from 6 to 10 in the morning and 5.30 to 7.30 in the evening," a senior TDB official said.

The official also said that all the booking amounts and advances given to the TDB auditoriums before the Covid-19 scare would be returned.

The Devaswom Board also also decided to provide sanitisers inside temples.

The Kasaragod district has been put under complete lockdown after six fresh cases of coronavirus infection were detected on Friday, prompting even two legislators from the district to go into self-quarantine.

Almost all places of worship in the state, including the iconic Guruvayur temple, have been closed to devotees following strict directions from the Kerala government.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 16:20 IST