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Union Minister for Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today appealed that in view of challenges of Corona pandemic, Indian Muslims should strictly and honestly follow the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing during the holy month of Ramadan, likely to start from 24thApril, by offering prayers and performing other religious rituals staying inside their homes.

Shri Naqvi, who is also the Chairman of Central Waqf Council, the regulatory body of state waqf boards in India, informed that more than 7 lakh registered Mosques, Eidgah, Imambada, Dargah and other religious institutions come under the state waqf boards across the country.

It is to be noted that most of the Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia, have stopped mass gathering during Ramadan at religious places.

Shri Naqvi said that he has talked and appealed to various religious leaders, representatives of various social and religious organisations, officials and other office bearers of state waqf boards that they should ensure implementation of guidelines of lockdown and social distancing with all seriousness and honesty in toto during the holy month of Ramadan in view of Corona pandemic. They should ensure that the people perform all the religious rituals of Ramadan staying inside their homes.

Shri Naqvi said that the state waqf boards, through the Central Waqf Council, have been directed to take effective approach to ensure that the people do not gather at religious and other places under any circumstances during the holy month of Ramadan. There is a need to take help of various religious and social organisations, the people and the local administration in this regard. These religious and social organisations and personalities need to co-operate with the local administration in strict and effective implementation of lockdown and social distancing during the holy month of Ramadan.

Shri Naqvi said that pro-active, effective and positive efforts of state waqf boards and religious-social organisations ensured the Muslims of the country observed Shab-e-Barat on 8th and 9th April by offering prayers and performing all other religious rituals on the occasion staying inside their homes. In view of the challenges of Corona pandemic, cooperation of Indian Muslims in implementation of the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing, strictly and honestly, on the occasion ofShab-e-Barat has been laudable.

Shri Naqvi said that all the religious activities at all the temples, mosques, Gurudwaras, Churches and other religious places of the country have been cancelled in view of challenges of Corona pandemic. Guidelines of lockdown and social distancing are being followed effectively.

Shri Naqvi said that in India also, traditionally the people use to gather in a large number at lakhs of Mosques, Dargah, Imambada, Eidgah, Madarsas and other religious places across the country to offer prayers and performing other religious rituals including &Iftaar& during the holy month of Ramadan. But due to Corona pandemic; lockdown, curfew, social distancing have been implemented by the Centre and all the state governments.

Shri Naqvi said that there is a need to make the people aware so that they perform all the religious rituals staying inside their homes during the holy month of Ramadan and followthe lockdown and social distancing. Such efforts are not only needed at mosques and other religious places but also at other public as well as the individual places where the Muslims gather during the holy month of Ramadan to perform religious rituals.

Shri Naqvi said that the entire country is seriously and honestly following the guidelines of lockdown and social distancing on the appeal of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Any type of carelessness can be harmful for us, our family, the society and the entire country. We should follow the guidelines of the administration to defeat Corona with all seriousness and honesty, he said.