Maha urges for ‘online’ Bakrid; NCP, Cong, SP reject suggestion

Minister Aslam Shaikh said that the Muslim leaders and other organisations involved have already planned about carrying out the ritual with necessary precautions.

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has asked his people to celebrate Eid ul adha or Bakri Eid in a simple and if possible “symbolic” manner in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival falls on August 1 this year.

State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh suggested that the ritual of `qurbani’ (sacrifice of animal) be conducted “online” if possible, considering the imperatives of lockdown and containment zone restrictions.

Thackeray made the appeal during a video conference which was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Anil Deshmukh, Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik and public representatives including MLAs from the Muslim community.

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“In the last four months (of lockdown due to coronavirus), we have celebrated festivals of all religions in a restricted manner. Similarly, the coming Bakri Eid should also be celebrated in a simple, and if possible symbolic manner by observing rules,” Thackeray was quoted as saying in an official statement.

“We will deal with the crisis this year and celebrate all festivals on a big scale next year. Hence there should be no insistence on provision of market place for purchasing goats for Bakri Eid,” the chief minister added.

“People have extended cooperation while celebrating all festivals till now (during the lockdown). Similar cooperation is expected while celebrating Bakri Eid. It should be celebrated by respecting religious sentiments,” Pawar said, according to the statement.

“Considering the difficulties with regard to containment zones and strain on the police, Bakri Eid must be celebrated in a simple manner,” he added.

Muslim leaders pressurize Thackeray

Muslim leaders have reportedly expressed concerns to the government regarding the arrangements of cattle mandis in the city.

To discuss a plan on organizing the festival without violating the social distancing and lockdown norms, senior NCP leader Nawab Malick, Amin Patel, Samajwadi party president Abu Asim Azmi, Congress MLAs Zeeshan Siddiqui and Rais Shaikh met minister Aslam Shaikh.

Former minister and senior Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan submitted a plea to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state Congress chief and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat and NCP’s Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to allow the celebrations of Bakri Eid.

“As the government has come out with preparedness on the Ganesh festival, no decision has been taken on the Bakri Eid. Its high time that the government should immediately make a standard operating procedure (SOP) and issue guidelines on the sale and slaughtering of cattle. Festival of sacrifice is an important religious festival binding on every Muslim and hence I have written to chief minister and home minister Anil Deshmukh to immediately take a call on it,” said former minister Arif Naseem Khan.

Meanwhile, Minister Aslam Shaikh said that the Muslim leaders and other organisations involved have already planned about carrying out the ritual with necessary precautions.

They have reportedly proposed that two or three mandis in every 24 wards will be created to avoid crowding for buying animals for slaughtering. It is also being mandatory for the goat seller and the buyer will wear PPE kits, one person will have to go to these mandis and select the animals without touching them.

There is also suggestion that there should be coupon system where 10 to 15 people will take prior appointment and come to buy goats.

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