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Odisha: The only state Hindus need Covid negative report to go to temple, churches, mosques are exempted

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Bhubaneswar- The Odisha state government is allowing the opening of temples which were closed due to Corona lock down one after another in the state. Puri Shrimandir, then Lingaraj and other temples are opening or going to be open in coming days. However, the state govt has made mandatory for the devotee to show Corona Negative Report to go to the temple. It has been made mandatory for devotees. Otherwise any devotees will not be allowed to enter the temple. Many devotees who are not financially sound are unable to test as the corona test costs at least Rs 400. If any Hindu devotee wants to take his or her family then it may cost around 2000 or more than this. The government is no longer conducting any corona test in free of cost.

Odisha is the only state in the country where such mandatory restriction on devotees has been enforced. There is no need for a negative report to visit temples in other parts of the country. Another important thing is that the government of Odisha applies this rule only to temples. No such corona negative report is required to visit a mosque by any Muslims or church by any Christians in Odisha. The state government is doing injustice to Hindus by blatantly violating Article 9, Article 25 and Article 27 of the Constitution.

The Odisha government decided to open temples in Odisha only after opening of temples in all the states of the country. Odisha is the last state in the country in opening of the temples after Corona lockdown. The Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh has been opened for devotees since June 11. Since then, the general public has been visiting the temple following the Covid guidelines. There is no need of any Corona Negative report. Similarly, the Akshardham Temple in Delhi has been opened to the public since October 13, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala from August 26, the Kali Temple in Kolkata from June 10, the Assam Kamaksha Temple from September 26, and the Kashi Bishwanath Temple from June 7.

As you may have known, these temples were closed to the public on March 21 due to country wide lock down. No corona negative report is required to enter all these above famous temples. However, the Odisha government has decided to open the Shree Jagannath Temple and the Lingaraj Temple recently on December last week after all temples opened in the country. But still why the Odisha government has made such Corona Negative Report compulsory to enter only the temples and Mosques and Churches are exempted is still unclear.

By Anil Biswal: Anil Biswal is a Senior Journalist based at Odisha. With an experience spreading over 8 years, he has been actively involved with news reporting, news analysis and managing news operations. His experience ranges from covering national and regional politics to observing public policy to producing research on cultural history. He tweets at @BiswalAnil

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