HYDERABAD: The Telangana Archaka Samakhya, an association of the State’s priests, has requested the government to suspend Arjitha Sevas in all the temples, in view of the rising Covid-19 cases among priests. Gangu Upendra Sharma, working president of Telangana Archaka Samakya, has written to Endowment Minister in this regard.
“Also, the government should provide `5 lakh to the priests and temple staff who are undergoing treatment for Covid-19, from the Trust,” Sharma said. He said his social media accounts were flooded with messages of obituaries and SOS messages. “This has become a cause of concern for the healthcare of temple workers,” he said. With temple priests getting infected with the virus, the local administration of several temples have temporarily shut the holy shrines.
After several priests and staff were tested positive for Covid-19, the management of Sri Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple at Keesaragutta had closed the temple for devotees and visitors till May 14. The situation is more or less the same in many temples across the state. This shows the need for the government to take a policy level decision, as it did during the last year, either to suspend Arjitha Sevas or Darshan to devotees.
As there Covid restrictions in place, devotees are thronging the temples on special days to offer prayers. This phenomenon sometimes leads to violation of Covid-19 containment protocols. During the previous year’s lockdown, the government has suspended darshan for devotees across the State. Even after resuming Darshan in last June, the government has imposed restrictions until the Covid-19 pandemic was abated.