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Madhya Pradesh: 40 people who were found offering namaz in a mosque in Chhindwara amidst coronavirus lockdown booked

Despite prohibitory orders restraining the congregation of people, 'pious' Muslims in various parts of the country, have defied the lockdown restrictions and assembled in large numbers in mosques to offer namaz.

As the pandemic of the Wuhan coronavirus rages across the globe, some obstinate individuals in India are bent on insidiously chipping away at the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Despite prohibitory orders restraining the congregation of people, ‘pious’ Muslims in various parts of the country, have defied the lockdown restrictions and assembled in large numbers in mosques to offer namaz.

Recently, in contravention to lockdown protocols, as many as 40 people in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh were found offering namaz en masse. A case has been registered against 40 men for allegedly breaching the government-mandated coronavirus lockdown, by gathering at a mosque and offering prayers together.

Among the 40 booked for violating lockdown restrictions, the sarpanch of Khairikhurd village was also included, who was also one amongst the worshippers who were found offering namaz at a mosque in Chourai tehsil, 38 km from the district headquarters.

According to police inspector Mukesh Dwivedi, a police patrol party were tipped off about a gathering at the mosque for prayers on Thursday evening amidst section 144 (banning assembly of five persons or above) of Criminal Procedure Code imposed in the area. Those who were found offering prayers were charged under sections 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by a public servant) and 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread infection of a dangerous disease) of Indian Penal Code, the police inspector said.

Besides, they were also charged under the Disaster Management Act, Madhya Pradesh Epidemic Diseases Act, Madhya Pradesh Public Health Act 1949 and Epidemic Act 1897. However, they were subsequently granted bail, the police official said.

This is not a first instance where Muslims have come out in droves, defying the lockdown restrictions and offering namaz together in mosques. Last week, a raft of Muslims gathered at a mosque in Hubbali district to offer mass namaz. When the police officials stopped them from assembling in large numbers, they started pelting stones at the police officials.

A similar incident occurred in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district on April 2 when Muslim mob resorted to stone-pelting when being stopped by police personnel for offering namaz together. About 25 to 30 people arrived at the mosque in Sarai Rahman area to offer prayers defying the nationwide lockdown. The police appealed to the group not to assemble outside and instead offer Namaz at their respective homes citing lockdown. However, the mob did not heed to the advice and pelted stones at them.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj, Muslim mob grievously injured police personnel who had gone to the district’s Jama Masjid to prevent congregation of a large number of Muslims gathered to offer namaz amid the Coronavirus lockdown. However, far from displaying any social responsibility in helping the officials to curb the coronavirus spread, rabid Muslims not only provided a conducive environment for the contagion to proliferate, but they also unleashed a violent attack on law enforcement officials who were conscientiously working to tame the spread of the virus.

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