A petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the August 9 guidelines of the Maharashtra government regarding the observance of the rituals of Muharram. The petition filed by a pro-Shia community outfit claims that the community's rituals and traditions have been neglected by the state.
The petition has been filed by All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat through advocate Asif Naqvi.
"The guidelines issued are arbitrary denying the Shia sect to perform and complete their mourning rituals and Alam, Tazia, Taboot, Jhoola, Mehndi is decorated at home and Imambargahs and cooled down in Kabrastan which are continued since centuries," the petition states.
According to the plea, the Alams, Tazias, Taboot, Jhoola and Mehndi are cooled down in the Kabristan and is an integral part of Shia Muslim religion without which the rituals of Muharram is incomplete.
"The guidelines issued for Muharram should be relaxed as the guidelines which was strict during lockdown in 2020 the situation is not the same and again in 2021 strict guidelines denying the Shia sect community to perform their religious rights without any relaxations," the petition reads.
Notably, the Tazia that is basically a replica of the Mausoleum of Imam Hussain, is cooled down by burying it in the graveyard, just as the revered Ganesh Idol is immersed in the water. It is an article of faith for the Shia Community.
The petition further cites Article 14 of the Constitution of India seeking equal treatment for the Shia community.
"Equality before the law guarantees that no individual nor group of individuals be privileged or discriminated against by the government. Equality before law and all are equal in the eyes of law is the bedrock and essence of our constitution, so does the principle of national justice," the petition states.
During their 40 days mourning rituals, the petition states, the BMC can arrange vaccination drive. "The rituals, pro carriers, congregations during mourning days be permitted which following the precautions of masks, sanitizations and social distancing".
"We would reduce the height of Alam, Tazia for individuals as per the height allowed for Ganpati idols," the petition states.
The petition is likely to be heard on Tuesday.
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