A TOI scribe later saw that the Agyaram Devi temple checked the vaccination status of all visitors. At some shrines, the only controls were guards holding thermal scanners or disinfectant sprays.
Thursday was just an official opening day for many places of worship, which had already opened, residents said. Despite the ban, visitors in small numbers could easily pay a visit and offer prayers, neighbors like flower vendors said.
YOU attained Mominpura at the time of the asar (fourth prayer). “How can we ask people if they have been vaccinated. They come here again and again, it’s practically not possible for us to obey,” said a committee member of a mosque.
People slowly started to reach the mosque after the call to prayer. “There is not much enthusiasm, because few people know that the mosques have been opened. The numbers are still much lower than before Covid,” said Sajid Anwar, secretary of the Jame-e-Masjid committee.
As YOU moved elsewhere, people said they had come for prayer even earlier. Management members said they were among the limited people allowed so far.
After being closed following the first wave of Covid, religious places opened in November last year, only to be closed after a brief period so far.
At the Tekdi Ganesh temple, devotees lined up with newly purchased cars to ask for blessings for the vehicle. Some had their registration numbers but were waiting for the temple to open, while there were also cars that had just come out of the showroom. Even here, there was no insistence on vaccination. This TOI scribe waited at the entrance and also entered all the way to the sanctuary without being asked about his vaccination status.
A temple staff member said they ask for a digital copy of the vaccination certificate upon entry, but TOI cannot fine anyone.
Nandkishore Pattewar had come with her one-month-old granddaughter to ask for blessings. “It is a custom to take the child to the temple one month after birth. We just took a chance and came here, to find the temple open. We didn’t know the government allowed temples to open,” the child’s mother said.
The SFS church held the first mass after more than a year. The pews soon had occupants. TOI also waited to watch people enter. There was no one to check the vaccination certificates. “There was someone to check the certificates earlier, who joined the cult. Now we are going to close the door without allowing others during Mass,” a parish office official said.
Father Anthony D’souza said: “We have already announced that standards such as disinfection, distancing and double vaccination must be followed by all worshippers. All these rules will be respected at all times.
A little further, the sanctuary of the Lady of Lourdes at Seminary Hills was also open. A visitor said it was open even earlier, but congregations were not allowed. Some other nearby temples would also have been open for some time.