Langar Inseparable Part of Sikh Religion, Punjab Govt Should Review Guidelines: SGPC Chief

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SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal on Sunday urged the Punjab government to review its guidelines regarding langar, terming the practice an 'inseparable' part of the Sikh religion.

Allowing the opening of religious places from Monday during the current phase of the coronavirus lockdown, the state government on Saturday had prohibited the offering of 'prasad', food or langar (community kitchen).

"Langar is an inseparable tradition of the Sikh religion and the government should review its decision," said Longowal.

He said the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was preparing food for devotees by following all norms of the Health Department.

Giving 'prasad' to devotees is also an old tradition of the Sikh religion and the government should review its guidelines regarding this while keeping in mind the sentiments of the Sikh community, said Longowal.

He, however, said as the Golden Temple is reopening for devotees on Monday, all coronavirus-related guidelines will be followed.

Longowal said thermal screening of devotees visiting the Golden Temple will be a must.

"Various health teams have been deployed at the entrances to the Golden Temple where devotees will undergo thermal screening," said the SGPC president, adding that wearing masks will be a must.

Social distancing norms will be followed strictly inside the premises, he said.

Devotees will be sent inside the sanctum sanctorum one by one, Longowal said, stressing that people were keen on visiting the shrine to offer prayers.

The Punjab government on Saturday had issued guidelines for the opening of shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and places of worship.

According to the guidelines, the management of religious places shall make adequate arrangements to ensure hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of masks.

Places of worship or religious places will remain open between 5 am and 8 pm, as per the guidelines.

The maximum number of persons at the time of worship shall not exceed 20 with social distancing in place.