Coronavirus outbreak: Siddhivinayak closed, dargahs tell people to not visit in groups

Updated: Mar 17, 2020, 07:42 IST | Faizan Khan, Vishal Singh | Mumbai

Chief minister requests all religious places to discourage mass gatherings and to support the government in its fight against Coronavirus

Siddhivinayak will be closed from today
Siddhivinayak will be closed from today

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to trustees of religious places in the state to prevent crowding of devotees and also asked district Collectors to ensure that places of worship follow the protocol for preventing Covid 19 pandemic. Thackeray specifically urged Hindus, Muslims, Christians and those other religions to avoid mass gatherings.

Following the request, most religious places have requested devotees to not visit in groups. Siddhivinayak and Mumbadevi temples will be closes from Tuesday, the iconic Haji Ali and Mahim dargah have also requested people to not visit in large groups. Only namaz (prayers) will be performed to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

Visitors to Mahim dargah, too, are offered hand sanitiser and tissues. File pic
Visitors to Mahim dargah, too, are offered hand sanitiser and tissues. File pic

Mumbadevi temple authorities have issued a statement that the temple will be closed from Tuesday as per instructions from the government. "All precautionary measures have been taken to avoid the spread of Coronavirus," said Hemant Jadhav manager, MumbaiDevi temple.

Similar steps have been taken by Siddhivinayak temple where thousands visit on a daily basis. "As the numbers of Coronavirus cases are increasing in the state every day, it is everyone's responsibility to help the government tackle this deadly virus. People are requested to stay at home as the temple will be closed. Only counters for medical aid will be open to provide financial assistance to people who are ill," said Adesh Bandekar, Chairman, Siddhivinayak Mandir Trust. The management of Haji Ali and Mahim Dargah have also requested people to not visit in large numbers. "Visitors are requested to not come in groups and not to stay long if they come," said Suhail Khandwani, trustee of Mahim and Haji Ali Dargah. According to the management, the number of devotees has already reduced to 70 per cent. The entire dargah is sanitised many times a day and a team of 8 doctors is available at the shrine all day. CM Uddhav Thackeray had said, "You may please carry on with religious festivals, gatherings after the threat is defeated. I also request political and social organisations to cancel public events."

Thackeray said the state hasn't restricted gatherings at beaches yet, but expected people to avoid going there for their own safety.

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