At time when the importance of physical distancing has been stressed by experts world over, former Congress Union Minister and Member of Karnataka Legislative Council, CM Ibrahim has written to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, asking him to allow members of the Muslim community to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr at Idgah Maidans and masjids.
Ever since the lockdown began in March, all religious places were shut to avoid the crowds that normally gather at places of worship. With the need for physical distancing, these religious shrines were shut and not opened even when certain relaxations were announced.
The Eid-ul-Fitr festival will be celebrated on May 24 and 25, during which members of the Muslim community offer special prayers. “On behalf of the entire community, I would suggest that the government may take a decision by having due consultation with the medical experts to grant permission for Muslims on the day of Eid to offer prayers in the Idgah Maidan or Masjids from morning till 1 pm with all precautionary measures and safety norms,” CM Ibrahim’s letter to the CM states.
The letter further requested that the Chief Minister consult with medical experts regarding his request before taking a call. “In this regard, request you kindly to look into the matter and after consulting the medical experts, take a suitable decision enabling the Muslims over the State to offer Eid prayers,” he added.
CM Ibrahim’s letter has raised eyebrows and drew criticism on social media. Many accused him of indulging in petty politics and trying to endanger the lives of Muslims in the state.
The former Union Minister’s request comes even as Saudi Arabia has decided to impose a nation-wide curfew on Eid. The kingdom has also restricted entry into Mecca, the holy shrine for members of the Muslim community.
Over the last couple of months, the police have booked several people who violated lockdown norms and participated in ritual prayers at temples and mosques in Karnataka. In Bagalkote, on March 27, the police dispersed a crowd gathered in Mudhol’s mosque and booked five people for violating lockdown norms. On April 17, the Haveri police resorted to lathi charge and dispersed 30 people who had gathered to offer prayers at a mosque in Savanuru village. On April 16, hundreds of people had gathered at Siddalingeshwara temple in Kalaburagi to celebrate the chariot festival. The district police had resorted to lathi charge to disperse the crowd,