Ramadan 2021 begins on a subdued note amid rising COVID-19 cases and restrictive measures

The Muslim community marked Ramzan on Wednesday, with many opting to stay homebound amid rising COVID-19 cases. Over the last few days, several states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi have introduced a slew of precautionary and restrictive measures to regulate activities during Islam's holiest period.

In Maharashtra, many members of the community have eschewed large scale public events in favour of indoor observances even as some mosques restrict the entry and exit of devotees. The state government has also released a set of guidelines for those marking the occasion.

With India recording more than 1 lakh cases on a daily basis, other states have also felt the need for restrictions. While temple priests and maulvis across Noida and Greater Noida make cautionary announcements and remind people about COVID-19 protocols via loudspeakers, many shops in Delhi have opted to close their shutters. The Uttar Pradesh government has already announced restrictions on gatherings of five or more people in religious places for effective control of the pandemic during Navratri and Ramzan.

The Kerala government on Tuesday issued a slew of directions to check the surge in COVID-19 cases, including restricting the number of people for indoor and outdoor events and also its timings, closure of shops by 9 PM and promoting door delivery of products. "Religious leaders and district authorities may be persuaded to avoid community gatherings (iftar parties) when customary fasting is broken during evenings in the month of Ramzan," the order said.

In the meantime, Muslim scholars and clerics have issued fatwas assuring people that taking a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would not invalidate the Ramzan fast.

"Roza observed by devotees does not break due to Covid vaccination, which means that those who wish to and are allowed to get vaccination, should do so. Vaccination is an intramuscular injection, hence not digested. Therefore, it will not break your fast. We are encouraging Muslims to go for vaccination as a part of their commitment to their well-being," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali.

(With inputs from agencies)

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