The Kerala government had allowed places of worship to function from June 8, following the Centre's guidelines.

Two Kerala mosques put off reopening amid rise in COVID-19 casesPalayam mosque in Thiruvananthapuram / Navaneeth Krishnan S / Wikimedia Commons
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, June 06, 2020 - 16:46

Even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave places of worship the go-ahead to open from June 8 onwards, at least two mosques in the state have decided not to begin functioning immediately. This comes as Kerala has seen a spurt in COVID-19 cases in the recent weeks. The Palayam Juma Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram and the Palayam Muhiyudheen Palli in Kozhikode have both decided to wait for sometime before opening the gates for devotees.

“While we welcome the government move to allow worship centres to start functioning again, we – the members of the Palayalm Muslim Jamat Paripalana Samithi – decided to not open the mosque immediately,” says Thiruvananthapuram’s Palayam masjid Imam Suhaib VP.

“It is a welcome decision as mosques in small towns and villages where everyone knows each other can immediately open. But in the middle of the city, a mosque may get many visitors, including strangers who pass by or travellers. Since we are located in the capital city, many people who visit for official purposes, may also come to pray at the mosque. We are just being cautious in not opening the mosque seeing how the disease has been spreading in the last few days. Yesterday, the number of new cases reported in the state was 111,” says the Imam.

Even if they follow precautionary measures such as having thermal scanning at the doors, there may still be asymptomatic people who could be carriers of the disease, the Imam adds.

Meanwhile, the Palayam Muhiyudheen Palli Paripalana Committee in Kozhikode released a notice that the mosque will not be opening since it does not have the facilities to function with the measures against COVID-19, as advised by the government.

On Friday, CM Pinarayi said that the central government has allowed worship centres to open again, following strict guidelines. People in the vulnerable category – those aged above 65 years and below 10 years -- should not be allowed.

Read: Don’t open malls and places of worship, Indian Medical Assn tells Kerala govt

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