‘Celebrations can wait’: Clerics to CM Mamata on lifting lockdown after Eid

The clerics’ call came at a time when the Covid-19 graph in Bengal is steadily rising, reporting 527 cases over the past five days.
The Bengal Imams’ Association, a body of Islamic clerics in the state, has urged chief minister Mamata Banerjee not to lift the lockdown before Eid Ul Fitr scheduled on May 25, under any circumstances.

“The Union government has announced lockdown till May 17. In our state, it has already been extended till May 21. The holy Eid Ul Fitr is on May 25. The government may consider relaxing the lockdown due to Eid. But, we request the Bengal government to extend the lockdown for a few more days. Let people live first, celebrations can take place later,” Md. Yahiya, chairman of the Bengal Imams’ Association wrote in a letter to the chief minister on Saturday.

Yahiya proposed that the lockdown be extended till May 30.

“We request you to raise this demand before the Centre as well. The Muslim leadership will stand by the government,” Yahiya wrote.
No one from the government or the ruling party, Trinamool Congress, agreed to speak on record. “The chief minister herself will take a call considering all aspects,” said a senior minister of the state government who did not want to be identified.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on April 26 urged people to pray during the month of Ramzaan to get rid of coronavirus before Eid.

The clerics’ call came at a time when the Covid-19 graph in Bengal is steadily rising, reporting 527 cases over the past five days.
Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition in the state, had accused the Mamata Banerjee government of turning a blind eye to the violation of lockdown measures in areas dominated by minorities in Kolkata and Howrah, the epicenters of the coronavirus infection in the state.

“Mamata Banerjee continued with her politics of appeasement during this fight against the virus. She did not reveal details about Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz-returnees and everyone could see how the administration is turning a blind eye to lockdown violations in areas dominated by members of a special community,” BJP state unit president Dilip Ghosh said earlier this week.

Muslims comprise 27.01% of the state’s population, according to the Census of 2011, and are a majority in three of Bengal’s 23 districts – Murshidabad, Malda and Uttar Dinajpur. Incidentally, Uttar Dinajpur has not recorded any case yet, while Malda has reported 3 and Murshidabad has reported 1 Covid-19 case.

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