The Muslim festival of Ramzan is on April 12. As there are strict restrictions on gatherings in the state of Maharashtra amidst a spike in Covid-19 cases, Mohammed Saeed Noori, Secretary of Raza Academy, has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on April 6, requesting him to relax rules for the month-long festival. Raza Academy sparked controversy last year as well when the lockdown was in place, and they wanted to organize iftars and prayers in mosques. At that time, the permission was denied by the state government.
Noori claimed lockdown only increases problems
Noori termed Covid-19 a “strange disease” in his letter and claimed that lockdowns are not a measure to contain it as they cause more trouble to the majority of the people in the state as they lose their daily earnings.
He said, “As we are all going through the worst phases of the pandemic, we at the onset assure you of all the cooperation needed in tackling the virus and its spread in the state. However, we feel that lockdowns are not a measure to tackle this strange disease. On the contrary, lockdown causes more trouble to the majority of people in the state who lose their daily earnings and end up in dire circumstances.”
He further added that the guidelines issued by the government give the power to the nodal officer of the pandemic to relax the rules wherever he deems fit, including for marriage, elections and other necessary functions. While claiming that ‘prayers are the best means to save the state, country and community from any kind of disaster,’ he urged CM to allow the Muslim community to offer five-times Namaz in the mosques while following all the guidelines and SOP issued by the government.
Prayers will save the state, country and community from disease – claimed Noori
He said, “There is no doubt that prayers are the best means of saving the state or country or community from any kind of disaster be it pandemic or other natural or man-made calamities. Hence to stop people from praying is tantamount to spreading the disease more at a greater speed.” He further said, “We assure you that the holy month of Ramzan shall definitely eradicate this disease by the regular and devoted prayers to almighty Allah in this month by the believers.”
Lockdown imposed in Maharashtra
On April 4, in an attempt to “break the chain”, the Maharashtra state government imposed a complete lockdown on the weekends starting Friday 8 PM to Monday 7 AM. Night curfew has been imposed on all days. The government also ordered the closure of restaurants and eateries other than takeaways and enforced ‘work from home’ for private companies that do not fall under essential services. All public spaces, including temples, malls, gyms, parlours, gardens etc., have been closed in the state amidst an increasing number of Covid-19 cases.
Maharashtra is the biggest contributor in Covid-19 cases
Notably, Maharashtra is the largest contributor in the Covid-19 cases. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, out of 1,15,312 new cases reported on April 6, 55,469 new cases were reported in Maharashtra alone. Pune and Mumbai were the biggest contributing districts in the state, with 11,040 and 10,040 new cases, respectively. There are 8,38,669 active cases in the country, out of which 4,72,283 are in Maharashtra alone.
Raza Academy has been in news for the wrong reasons
Raza Academy has been creating controversies regularly. In October 2020, Raza Academy threatened to file a case against the Maharashtra government if they did not give permission to carry out the Eid-e-Milad procession. In May 2020, 125 people, including Saeed Noori, founding member of Raza Academy, were booked for violating social distancing norms after they attended a funeral in large numbers.