New Delhi: Religious places in Jammu and Kashmir will reopen from August 16 after a prolonged lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the J&K administration announced on Tuesday. Also Read - Indian Army Says Its Troops 'Exceeded' Powers Under AFSPA in Shopian Encounter, Initiates Disciplinary Proceedings

However, religious processions and large religious gatherings continue to be strictly prohibited and places of worship are to ensure health protocols against the spread of COVID-19 infection. Also Read - Pulwama-like Attack Averted After Army Recovers 52 kg Worth Explosives in Jammu and Kashmir

“Major decision by J&K Government. All religious places and places of worship to open in Jammu & Kashmir from August 16, 2020. Religious processions and large religious gatherings remain strictly prohibited,” J&K Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said in a tweet. Also Read - Kashmir: 3 Terrorists killed in Encounter With Security Forces in Batamaloo

A separate SOP will be issued soon for the reopening of religious places in the union territory.

It must be noted that the administration has also declared all districts of Kashmir except Bandipora as ‘Red zones’, while Ramban is the only district in Jammu division to be included in this category.

Doda and Kishtwar districts are placed in green zones, with no COVID-19 cases in the past one month. Meanwhile, the rest of the seven districts in Jammu region and Bandipora district have been categorised as orange zones.

The government has asked the people to follow the SOPs for respective zones or face penal action in case of any violation.

With PTI inputs