After Maharashtra government forcefully put up restrictions the Ganesh Utsav in the state, there are reports that several Muslim leaders, especially from his own Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance have been putting pressure on Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to immediately take necessary decisions to allow Bakri Eid festival which is falling on August 1.
Reportedly, ahead of the Islamic festival, the Muslim leaders have expressed their concerns to the government regarding the preparedness and arrangements of cattle mandis (makeshift market) in the city amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
To discuss a plan on how to organise the festival without violating the social distancing and lockdown norms, senior NCP leader Nawab Malick, Amin Patel, Samajwadi party president Abu Asim Azmi, Congress MLAs Zeeshan Siddiqui and Rais Shaikh met minister Aslam Shaikh.
Congress leaders pressurise Uddhav Thackeray to allow celebrations
Former minister and senior Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan also submitted a plea to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Congress chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and NCP’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to allow the celebrations of Bakri Eid.
“As the government has come out with preparedness on the Ganesh festival, no decision has been taken on the Bakri Eid. Its high time that the government should immediately make a standard operating procedure (SOP) and issue guidelines on the sale and slaughtering of cattle. Festival of sacrifice is an important religious festival binding on every Muslim and hence I have written to chief minister and home minister Anil Deshmukh to immediately take a call on it,” said former minister Arif Naseem Khan.
The Congress leader said that since the festival is due to be celebrated on August 1, the state government has not yet taken any decision in this regard, which has unnerved the Muslim community and leaders of various organisations. Khan called upon Thackeray to take a decision in the matter on priority which could enable the community to celebrate Eid al-Adha with due restrictions.
Meanwhile, Minister Aslam Shaikh said that the Muslim leaders and other organisations involved have already planned on how to safely celebrate the festival.
They have reportedly proposed that two or three mandis in every 24 wards will be created to avoid crowding for buying animals for slaughtering. It is also being mandatory for the goat seller and the buyer will wear PPE kits, one person will have to go to these mandis and select the animals without touching them.
There is also suggestion that there should be coupon system where 10 to 15 people will take prior appointment and come to buy goats.
Maharashtra government restricts Ganesh Utsav celebrations
The Maharashtra government-led by secular parties of Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress, have now decided to place severe restrictions on the celebrations of this years Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra.
The government has put in restrictions on the height of idols installed by Ganpati Mandals to only four feet during the coming Ganesh festival. The idols installed at home cannot be taller than two feet, said a notification issued by the Home Department.
The state government has also advised Ganesh Mandals to postpone immersion of idols.
The notification has also asked people to use metal or marble Ganesh idols at home and if at all clay idols are installed, they should be immersed at their homes or in nearby artificial ponds, the notification said.
The government has also asked the Mandals to consider immersion of idols during the Maghi Ganesh Chaturthi which falls in February or during the next year’s Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The processions of immersion of idols will not be allowed this year as they attract huge crowds.
The Maharashtra government’s notification has also said that Ganesh Mandals should accept only voluntary donations and advertisements should not aim to attract crowds but focus on health awareness and social messages.
The government has also banned cultural programmes and has asked them to organise health camps, blood donation camps to create awareness about infections such as coronavirus, malaria and dengue. The crowds during daily ‘aarti’ are barred and noise pollution norms must be followed.
The notification also said that the ‘Darshan’ facility should be provided online through Facebook or other media or through cable network and pandals should have sanitization and thermal screening facilities.