Siddhivinayak Temple
Siddhivinayak Temple
BL Soni

Mumbai: Politicians across party lines are seeking that the state government relax lockdown rules to allow places of worship to re-open conditionally for the people of faith and for religious ceremonies to be observed.

While the Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that places of worship be allowed to take in devotees, subject to precautions and social distancing norms, the Samajwadi Party (SP) wants the slaughter of goats to be permitted on Bakri Eid.

The state government has already asked for Ganesh Utsav celebrations to be scaled down considering the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Ashadi wari to Pandharpur and the holy month of Ramzan were observed on a low-key due to the spread of the disease.

Mangal Prabhat Lodha, BJP Mumbai chief and Malabar Hill MLA, sought that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray allow religious sites across Maharashtra to re-open to allow people to seek mental and spiritual succour as part of the state government’s ‘Mission Begin Again.’ Lodha has demanded that these places of worship be allowed to re-open with norms of social distancing in place, even if for a limited time in a day.

SP MLA Abu Asim Azmi said he had met deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar with party legislator Rais Shaikh to seek that the slaughter of goats on Bakri Eid, which is scheduled on month-end, be allowed.

“Instead of allowing the sale of animals for sacrifice only at the Deonar abattoir, this can be decentralized to cover more locations in the city. A system can be evolved to allow only a few people to come to these sites after following social distancing norms to purchase goats and they can be sacrificed while observing similar precautions. This can be allowed if there is no element of risk involved,” he explained, adding that a decision on this demand was expected soon.

Azmi, a third-term MLA from Mankhurd-Shivajinagar in Mumbai, said while the Bakri Eid festival was integral to the faith and practice of Islam, it also concerned livestock farmers, who reared goat and sheep for sale and sacrifice.

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