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Pandemic and panic

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, religious services and events continue as usual with some precautions in place. Should this continue, or is there a need to temporarily halt this? NT BUZZ gets people’s opinion

While the coronovirus outbreak has seen India taking precautionary measures to contain this disease, including cautioning against group gatherings, religious functions and events for most part have been carrying on as usual, albeit with a few precautionary measures in place. In Goa, barring a couple of cancellations, the Shigmo celebrations have been going on in full mode. People have also been visiting religious places for services as usual, be it church, mosques, etc. In recent news it has been announced that the Ayodhya Ram Navami Mela in Uttar Pradesh will be held from March 25 onwards. While some believe that faith and devotion will protect them from the disease, others are worried that these gatherings could increase the risk of the spread of this virus.

 I believe this is a personal choice and religious leaders play a major role in this. One has to be smart and responsible as this virus will not see what religion you follow before entering into you. So I think it is better that no religious events be forced to stop as it can take an ugly turn. But as I said, leaders play a very important role in this.

Zain L, Panaji

Given current circumstances and otherwise as well I don’t think that this notion of “God” who is almighty requires his/her subjects to be present in a man-made building or structure to give 75 or 85 per cent attendance. Such a being is omnipresent and can be praised and worshipped anywhere and at anytime. There is no explicit direct instruction stating that we must go to so and so church/shrine/masjid/temple and worship. To worship is to be in tune with oneself and God, a personal channel of communication, and a personal belief. If intellectual ability has been given to humans by God we humans ought to use it. Worship however you may please; it is good to come together, to feel part of a community, to have a sense of belonging and acceptance. But it is our duty to act intelligently and worship privately now, in order to be able to come together in the future

John D, Parra

Goa is not ready for coronavirus crisis. Being responsible should be our priority. Goa is already lacking in hospitals and doctors, plus we are still open to tourists. I understand the importance of our religious customs. But the coronavirus is bigger than all of us. Our religions teach us to take care of ourselves and others. In case there’s a positive case found in Goa, the patient has to be taken to Pune for treatment as we have no proper facilities in Goa. How will families manage like this? As humans we are dependent on God but maybe God is depending on us this time to take care of each other.

Amir Shaikh, Calangute

I’m not really religious but even for people who are, they can maintain their religion from their homes. The fact that the Pope closed down all churches in Rome, says enough. For people who do believe that God will save them if they keep going to church during this pandemic they have to be reminded of the saying: ‘Do your best, and God will do the rest’. Do your part, and then your God will save you. Not that I believe that, but this is just for people who do.

Declan Da Silva Pereira, Panaji

I believe all religious activities that could or will gather people in numbers more than 20 should not be allowed until the corona issue is solved. It is not a joke. Please respect the effort taken by your fellow humans so that we all can live a healthier life. Please stay at home if you have a holiday.

Sanath Bharne, Panaji

All the public and religious events should be banned because of the COVID-19. People do not know how serious the issue is. Our lives are at stake and how can people think about organising the events where there is more possibility of getting infected. Let us distance ourselves from one another and protect humanity.

M Shanthi, Dona Paula

According to me this should continue because when anything good or bad happens we remember God first. Prayer is the solution to all problems.Maybe the coronavirus is God’s way of showing how we have destroyed the environment.

Naheeda Jangeer, Vasco

I think we should leave it up to the religious authorities to decide by strictly meeting the government/WHO guidelines. And with quarantines, lock downs, working from home, schools, colleges, pubs, gyms, spas, malls, theatres being closed, humans will now believe in God and his glory.

Francis Xavier Pinto, Vasco

Religious events require huge gatherings, exposing people to great risk of contracting the infection. So far our country has done superbly in controlling the spread of the disease. The least we as citizens can do to help the government is by being responsible and avoiding gatherings, religious or otherwise.

Asha Mary Koshy, Dona Paula

Religious events should not be allowed at all. There is a high risk that the virus will spread because at that point no one knows if there is any infected person in the crowd. One infected person is enough for it to spread.

Kiran Karekar, Margao

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