SHILLONG, April 12 - Amidst the nationwide lockdown, people from all over Meghalaya on Sunday joined Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in prayers to celebrate Easter Sunday by singing hymns and lighting candles at their homes.
Sangma called upon the people to pray at home on the occasion of Easter Sunday and urged them to send in their videos and photos to portray a show of unity in this hour of crisis. Sangma along with his family prayed at his residence, and sang one of the most popular hymns �Amazing Grace�.
Easter Sunday is one of the most important occasions for Christians. It is believed that Jesus Christ resurrected on Easter Sunday after his crucifixion on Good Friday. Every year, churches celebrate the day with prayers, but due to the present situation, there has been no church service and therefore, Sangma suggested that people pray at home, but stay connected nonetheless.
Several celebrities across the country � including the likes of singer Usha Uthup, music composer Anu Malik, footballer Bhaichung Bhutia, and boxer Mary Kom � supported Sangma�s appeal. In their appeal, the celebrities asked the people to join in prayers and support the Meghalaya CM�s appeal.
Meanwhile, Sangma said that Meghalaya suggested during the Chief Ministers� video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown with localised lifting of restrictions. He said Modi also hinted that the lockdown would be extended for at least another two weeks, but restrictions could be lifted at the local level.
Sangma said Meghalaya suggested that inter-state movement of people be restricted at the moment, with disruption of train and airline services.
However, to strike a balance between health and the economy, some activities may be allowed to start primarily at the local level. �The Centre has already announced that fishing can be started by local fishermen in their areas,� he said.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister said that it was now left to the Prime Minster to decide on the issue, which he said would be announced shortly.
Aizawl Correspondent adds: Unlike in previous years, this time Aizawl missed the usual procession of the Salvation Army�s brass band or the Easter Service at sunrise � the age-old traditions that mark Easter Sunday.
Instead, believers in Mizoram celebrated one of the most important Christian festivals at home.
Just as they did on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, people listened to sermons delivered from the public information centre. This was followed by shouting of slogans by people praising Jesus Christ from their balconies and terraces.
A week before the national lockdown, all churches in Mizoram had been closed. To compensate for the absence of regular church services, the local cable TV networks are regularly airing sermons delivered by well-known preachers.