Amid the ongoing nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, religious leaders have appealed to masses to maintain social distancing and stay indoors. Congregations have been banned by the government and strict legal action would be initiated against anyone who breaks the law, the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed.
"There are many festivals in coming days. Many community religious leaders have come forward and have requested people to please follow rules of lockdown and help government in their fight against COVID-19," Joint Secretary (MHA) Punya Srivastava said.
Police would be using drones to monitor sensitive areas and keep a check around religious places. Violators would be dealt sternly as cases would register against them under Disaster Management Act and Indian Penal Code.
On Wednesday, Hanuman Jayanti is going to be celebrated all over India. Centre has asked states to take enough precautions so that people do not congregate to celebrate the occasion.
The festival is celebrated not only in North India but also in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. "Most of the big temples are shut and hopefully people with adhere to guidelines, we have asked states to impose strict penalty who breaks the law," a senior bureaucrat says.
According to him, states have been also asked to take steps for Shab-e-Baraat - an Islamic festival which is celebrated as a day of forgiveness or atonement. This year, it will be celebrated between the 8th and 9th of April.
Strict arrangements are being put in place specially in Jammu Kashmir, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind General Secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani has appealed to the members of Muslim community to observe the Shab-e-Barat at home and to keep social distance and stay indoors. He averred that Shab-e-Baraat is 'blessed night' and has utmost importance in the eyes of the believers.
He exhorted the community to stay away from un-Islamic things on this sacred night and abide by all the guidelines given in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and maintain social distance for the safety of people.
As per guidelines of Government of India social distancing has to be maintained to break the chain and spread of the novel coronavirus.
Central Delhi has the maximum number of mosques in the national capital.
DCP (Central) Sanjay Bhatia told NDTV that meetings were held with the religious leaders and Imams to persuade people not to come out of their homes on Shab-e-Baraat.