Maharashtra clamps down on all religious gatherings

Mumbai, April 4 (IANS) After the Tablighi Jamaat's Delhi event that led to a huge spurt in Covid-19 cases in the country, the Maharashtra government on Saturday imposed a total ban on all religious gatherings till further orders.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar made the announcement in two separate statements as Covid-19 cases continued to spiral in the state.

“Until further orders, we shall not grant permission for any religious functions, gatherings, public or sports events. We have not given permissions for the recent Gudi Padwa, Pandharpur Yatra and Ram Navami celebrations which were celebrated at home by the people,” Thackeray said in an address to the state on Saturday afternoon.

He said that coronavirus strikes at people irrespective of caste, community, religion or region and hence no further gatherings of any nature shall be allowed in the state to avoid mingling of people in large numbers.

Ajit Pawar, who is also the Finance Minister, said: “On Monday, there is Mahavir Jayanti, on Wednesday, Hanuman Jayanti will be celebrated, followed by Shab-e-Baraata Please do not step out of your homes this year. Kindly perform all the rituals at home only.”

The CM also warned of stringent action against those who spread communally divisive messages on the social media, upload fake videos, or those attacking the medical community and police who are serving the people in the ‘war against virus'.

Referring to the Tablighi Jamaat fallout in Maharashtra, Thackeray said the state has identified all the people (1,225) from the state who attended the Delhi event last month and further measures are underway to contain the spread of Covid-19 through them.

On the problems of the huge number of migrants, Thackeray said that the state government has made arrangements for around half a million such people from different states stuck in Maharashtra.

“We have taken care of all of them… Those from Maharashtra who are stranded in other states, please remain there… don't move, you will be taken care of,” the CM said.

He also thanked various organisations and individuals like the Taj Group of Hotels for giving rooms to the medical community and Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for offering premises for quarantine of Covid-19 cases.



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