Ramzan, Navratri guidelines: Maharashtra shuts religious places, Karnataka and UP ban large gatherings; all you need to know

India is currently witnessing a "second wave" of COVID-19 across the country. At present, India is the second worst-hit country in the world after the United States. Keeping in mind the rising cases of coronavirus, several states have imposed strict restrictions.

With the beginning of important festivals like Chaitra Navratri and Ramadan or Ramzan, several states have issued guidelines to be followed during the festival.

While Chaitra Navratri began on 13 April the month of Ramzan begins today. Chaitra Navratri falls during the spring season and is considered to be an auspicious one among various communities while Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The month of Ramzan is considered to be holy as devotees fast and pray. They also engage in humanitarian activities such as good deeds for the poor. Keeping the growing number of cases in India, both the Hindu temple administrations and the Islamic Centre of India have issued advisories stating that all COVID-19 protocols should be followed at religious places. Restrictions and guidelines have also been issued by several states.

Maharashtra

Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, on Tuesday announced curfew across the state for the next 15 days. From 8 pm on 14 April, the state will impose Section 144 banning the gathering of more than five people at one place.

The state, which has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases among all states, has also banned all religious, social, cultural and political functions in the state till 1 May. The ban also applies on religious places of worship, including mosques, temples, churches and gurdwaras, among others.

According to a report in Free Press Journal, the govt has also urged the Muslim community to do all rituals at home and not in mosques or at public places. Muslims should perform Namaz, Taraweeh and Iftar in their homes without coming together in a mosque or a public place.

The govt has also urged Muslims to celebrate the holy month in a very simple manner by strictly following social distancing, wearing masks, and using hand sanitisers in public places with not more than five people gathering at a time.

Karnataka
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the Karnataka government has issued fresh COVID-19 related guidelines for observing rituals in mosques, including a ban on large gatherings.

The guidelines also said that wearing masks will be mandatory in mosques. Besides, mosques in containment zones will remain closed till the zone is back to normal.

Uttar Pradesh

The Uttar Pradesh government has put a limit on the number of people entering a religious place. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also directed officers to ensure that not more than five people are allowed to enter a religious place at a time.

Delhi

In Delhi, the temple management has introduced a system of e-pass for visitors to regulate the crowd and ensure that social distancing norms are followed.

Also, the popular Chattarpur Temple will remain closed for devotees for nine days. However, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has ordered that there should be no religious gatherings such as jagrans (prayer meetings) and community feasts (bhandara) anywhere in the city during these days.

Odisha

In Odisha, the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) has issued guidelines that are required to be followed by all mosques from today (14 April).

- All religious congregations within the mosque or outside for Namaz would be restricted to 100 people or 50 percent of hall capacity.

- Mosque management committee will be responsible for ensuring token-wise entry of people.

- There will be social distancing marks of 6ft each where the devotees would sit/stand to offer the prayer.

- There will be no common washing facility (like Wuzu) for ablutions prior to the worship.

- Senior citizens and children below the age of 5 years must not be allowed.

- Hand sanitisation and thermal scanning facility will be provided at the entrance and after prayer.

- Usage of masks must be adhered to for all devotees.

- People must maintain distance amongst each other while greeting and prayers.

- Any violation of the above conditions will attract suitable penal action as per law by the CMC Authority.



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