General Secretary of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong Ka Bri U Hynñiewtrep (SNSBH), RL Blah, has said that it will be a hard task to follow all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) meant for religious places, which are set to reopen from October 1.
Speaking to Highland Post Blah said, “We have to accept that there will always be religious fanatics but who is willing to take the risk?”
He believed that leaders of the Presbyterian Church Synod Sepngi pushed strongly for the reopening of religious places but did not think “that most others are willing to take the risk.”
He questioned the practicality of the SOPs, citing the advice that people above 65 remain at home. Blah asked whether age proof would be required, what would happen if senior citizens decided to come along anyway and what religious leaders above 65 would do once places of worship reopen.
Blah said he is in favour of religious places reopening for individuals to enter the buildings for spiritual reasons but was not in favour of gatherings, even the limited gatherings allowed by the SOPs (up to one-third capacity).
He also cited the example of Mawkhar Presbyterian Church, which has a membership of several thousand but which has been holding online services since coronavirus restrictions were introduced six months ago.
“We should be thankful that we can still get all the sermons and prayers online but if we start gatherings and if there is one person infected with the coronavirus then things are going to get grimmer,” he said.
He opined that it was too risky at this point of time, with Covid-19 cases increasing day by day, to restart religious gatherings.