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No Friday prayers, says Muslim Personal Law Board

Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam said that he had also appealed for the suspension of Friday and daily prayers and it’s allowed in Islam.

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New Delhi, March 27 : Amid lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19, Muslim Personal Law Board has appealed to Muslims that they should stay away from the mosques.

“Due to #NovelCoronavirus pandemic, Muslims are recommended to offer Zuhur at home instead of praying Jumah at mosques. DON’T come out for congregational prayers and #StayAtHomeSaveLives. It is mandatory upon all to avoid causing harm to their fellow citizens,” tweeted AIMPLB late on Thursday night

Same appeal has been made by different mMslim bodies.

Jamaat-e-Islami Sharia Council had said in a statement: “The Friday prayers (Juma Namaz) should be observed (only by Imams, muezzins, khadims, and administrators of mosques). The prayers and the ‘khutbah’ (speech) should be completed in the minimum possible period whereas the remaining public should conduct the ‘Zohar’ prayer at home.”

The Shia sect’s religious leaders too decided to suspended the Friday prayers across the country and asked the followers to remain indoors.

Maulana Ashraf, Imam of Mumbai, said: “We have suspended the Friday prayers and daily prayers in mosques since last week. This arrangement will continue till the government desires as the primary objective should be to save human lives and follow the government directive. We are appealing to the people to remain indoors from mosque loudspeakers and the social media.”

Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir-ul-Islam said that he had also appealed for the suspension of Friday and daily prayers and it’s allowed in Islam.

The mosques in the national capital and elsewhere are only giving calls for prayers to the faithful whereas only three to five persons offer prayers on the premises while adhering to social distancing norm, said a muezzin.

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The dismantling of the idea of India

Instead of focusing on the economy, the Modi government has pushed its divisive agenda

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Migrant workers plight

March 24, 2020, was a watershed moment with Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi announcing a national lockdown in view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. This black swan event in the first year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s second term in office has changed our lives. Prior to that date, the government was pushing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s core agenda with characteristic authoritarianism. But the pandemic has humbled all of us, including those with invincible mindsets.

Two decisions of Modi-1 cast their shadow on the Modi-2 dispensation. First, the ill-thought-out, knee-jerk decision of the PM on November 8, 2016, to demonetise high-value currency notes. The rich were able to exchange their unaccounted cash but it deprived the poor of their hard-earned money. That was a monetary lockdown that destabilised the economy. The second was the establishment and implementation of a multi-layered Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime, which is mired in confusion even today. Its negative economic fallout impacted the free flow of commercial transactions. The result was that India’s economy grew at 4.2% (2019-20), the lowest in 11 years, as against 6.1% (2018-19). Prior to the pandemic, the unemployment rate touched its highest watermark in 45 years. Industrial growth suffered, as did key sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing, construction, trade, hotels, transportation and communications and financial services. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) warned (in May 2020) about the slackening of private consumption. Economic growth is a continuum subject to occasional hiccups that no one can control. But during Modi-2, these hiccups were man-made. An economy already in decline needed an impetus to revive it. Instead of concentrating on governance issues — including health care, education and the concerns of the poor — Modi-2 tore the nation apart by polarising it with a communal agenda.

In August 2019, Article 370 was recast and President’s rule imposed, with the state of Jammu and Kashmir being converted into two Union territories. This paradigm shift was claimed by Modi as a signal achievement. However, the situation on the ground is far from normal. The communication blackout, detention of political leaders and the imposition of curfew resulted in Kashmir witnessing one of its worst economic crises. Despite the government’s iron grip over the Valley, we have been regularly losing members of India’s security forces. The criminalisation of triple talaq on July 30, 2019 had nothing to do with the pain the BJP felt for Muslim women, especially when it did not shed a tear for the two million Hindu women who are abandoned by or separated from their husbands. The passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, under challenge in the Supreme Court, witnessed protests across campuses in the country. In the violence that erupted in Delhi on February 24-25, 53 people lost their lives and hundreds were injured. Instances of police brutality and, on occasion, collaboration with perpetrators of violence, was there for all to see. But the government looked the other way. The possibility of a National Register of Citizens and the announcement of a National Population Register further stoked communal fires. The passing of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2019, though intended to fight terror, has been used against those who have raised their voice against the government, which includes Right to Information activists, research scholars, thinkers, photojournalists and others. The aim was to silence dissent.

Suddenly, on March 24, things changed. But again, Modi made a mistake. He announced a lockdown with just four hours for its implementation. The consequences are there for all to see. An already sliding economy has been hit hard by the lockdown. The fact that all economic activities have been frozen for months will have dire consequences that will push India back for years. The last quarter of 2019-20, with only seven days of the lockdown, brought economic growth down to 3.1%. Economists have predicted that the growth this year will be in negative territory. This has also been endorsed by RBI. That is not all. A 25% reduction in earnings will increase the number of those below the below the poverty line from 21.9% to 46.3%. In the midst of all this, mass migration of hapless victims of the lockdown has resulted in a humanitarian crisis not seen in this country for a long time. Apart from deaths in trains, because of accidents or hunger and thirst, the sheer scale of the misery is captured by the image of a young child lifting his dead mother’s shroud in an effort to wake her up. The government’s initial denial that no migrant was on the road is consistent with its constant denial of the consequences of ill-thought decisions.

Modi-1 symbolised muscle power and a determined PM taking knee-jerk decisions. Modi-2 has dismantled an India that was carefully built by successive governments until 2014. It is time the government realises that its divisive agendas will only jeopardise the future of generations to come. This government must abandon its “let the fire burn and the cauldron bubble” policy and shift gears to address the burning issues of poverty and the marginalisation of those at the bottom of the pyramid.

This article first appeared in the HindustanTimes on June 1, 2020 under the title ‘The dismantling of the idea of India’. The writer, a senior Congress leader, is a former Union minister.

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Disaster

Maharashtra Covid-19 cases cross 70K with 76 more deaths

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

Mumbai, June 1 : The number of Covid-19 cases shot above the 70,000-mark in Maharashtra on Monday even as the state notched a fresh death toll of 76, down by 40 from the highest 116 deaths recorded on May 29, health officials said.

In a major development, Thane district with 9,941 cases has become the second worst-hit in the state, overtaking Pune district”s tally of 8,045 cases.

Monday”s toll includes a whopping 60 deaths in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region alone — the worst-hit in the country. The state reported 2,361 new cases on Monday.

This comes to roughly one death every 19 minutes, and an average 98 new cases notched every hour in the state.

Maharashtra has been recording 75-plus fatalities and over 2K new patients daily for the past one week, with the previous highest figures of 3,041 infections notched on May 24.

With 76 fatalities, the state”s death toll has touched 2,362 while the total number of coronavirus patients increased from Sunday”s 67,655 to 70,013 on Monday.

The health department said that of the total number of cases declared till date, 37,534 were ”active cases”, increasing by 1,503 over Sunday”s 36,031.

The state recorded a recovery rate of 43 per cent while the mortality (death) rate remained unchanged at 3.37 per cent.

In the past three months, the state has built an impressive rate of recoveries from March 31 (12.91 per cent) to April 30 (16.88 per cent) to May 31 (43.35 per cent).

Of the total 76 fatalities on Monday, 40 were recorded in Mumbai alone, taking the city”s death toll up from Sunday”s 1,279 to 1,319 now, while the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,413 cases to touch 41,099.

Besides Mumbai”s 40 deaths, there were 15 fatalities in Thane (Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Mira-Bhayander), 9 in Pune, 3 each in Palghar and Aurangabad, 2 in Raigad, and one each in Nashik, Jalna, Beed and Nagpur.

The victims comprised 45 men and 37 women, and nearly 67 per cent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.

On the positive side, a total of 779 fully cured patients returned home on Sunday, taking the number of those discharged to 30,108.

In an important measure, the state government has set up a special 200-bed hospital with oxygen supply to all the beds in Mumbai”s top hotspot Dharavi, Asia”s biggest slum, which will be operational from Tuesday, state Home Minister Rajesh Tope said.

The hospital — with 10 doctors, 15 nurses, other support staff, CCTV coverage, thermal sensors and other amenities — was set up in just two weeks, said Brihanmumbai Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal.

The MMR (Thane Division) continued to cause grave concerns for the authorities with 1,608 deaths and 53,259 positive cases.

Though trailing a distant third after Mumbai, Pune Division”s fatalities touched 424, besides 9,505 positive cases.

The next major area of concern is Nashik Division with 164 deaths and 2,178 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 70 fatalities and 1,925 cases, and Akola Division with 48 deaths and 1,036 cases.

There”s also Latur Division with 11 deaths and 371 cases, Kolhapur Division with 10 deaths and 918 patients, and Nagpur Division with 12 deaths and 761 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased from Sunday”s 558,100 to 567,552 on Monday, while those in institutional quarantine increased by 1,709 to 34,480.

In another bit of relieving news, as many as 72,704 beds are currently available for quarantine in the state.

The state”s containment zones increased from 3,157 to 3,294 on Monday while 18,674 health teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 70.6 lakh in the state.

–IANS

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Liquor shops in Delhi to operate daily till 8 PM

It also said in case the shops allowed to operate comes under the containment zone in future, the same shall be closed immediately.

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New Delhi, June 1 : All government and private liquor shops, which were allowed to operate so far in Delhi, will be allowed to open all days a week, except dry days, between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., the Excise Department said on Monday.

An Excise Department official told IANS that an order has been issued which says all the shops having L-6 and L-8 licenses are allowed to function all day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

While L-6 is for the government-run retail vends of Indian liquor, L-8 is for the retail vends of country liquor.

For the private shops, the order, a copy of which is with IANS, said only those which were allowed to operate on an odd-even basis after May 19 will be allowed all day and the timing has been changed from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. to between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. now.

Total 76 private liquor shops were allowed after May 19, the official added.

There are about 850 liquor shops in Delhi. However, close to 150 shops, which were in malls across the city, will continue to remain shut, the official said.

While the rules for timing have been changed, the other directives remain the same, the official added.

“They will deposit 70 per cent Special Corona Fee on total sales daily, which will be deducted from their ledger account linked with their Vend-ID in ESCIMS. They should, therefore, maintain the requisite balance in their ledger account,” the official told IANS.

“In case of any un-scanned sale, the MSR Gap generated shall be treated as the stock sold and 70 per cent Special Corona Fee shall be levied and payable on the same,” it added.

The Excise Department asked the shop owners to strictly comply with the National Directives for Covid-19 Management and to take all possible measures including deployment of adequate number of guards, proper barricading, marking to ensure social distancing, etc. in coordination with Delhi Police and local administration.

It also said in case the shops allowed to operate comes under the containment zone in future, the same shall be closed immediately.

From May 4, the standalone liquor shops were allowed in the city, while from May 19, even those in the market places were allowed on alternate days. On May 5, the government imposed the ”Special Corona Fee”, which was 70 per cent of the MRP. Till May 25, the government has earned Rs 127 crore as the special corona fee.

The Delhi government on Monday allowed all the shops to operate even in markets without any odd-even system.

–IANS

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