As the coronavirus lockdown is in place, most public places are shut. With certain relaxations, the government allowed shops to open for business, while malls remain shut to avoid mass gatherings. The centre even allowed trains to start operating, but with several restrictions that are in compliance with social distancing norms. Amidst all this, a senior Congress leader and Karnataka MLC, CM Ibrahim made an unusual request to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, which triggered a controversy.
Allow Eid prayers
In a letter addressed to Karnataka CM, the former Congress Union Minister and Member of Karnataka Legislative Council CM Ibrahim requested that Muslims be allowed to offer prayers of Eid in mosques and open grounds.
"I would suggest that the Government may take a decision by having due consultation with the medical experts to grant permission for Muslims on the day of Idd to offer prayers in the Idgah Maidans or Masjids from morning till 1 p.m. with all precautionary measures and safety norms," Ibrahim wrote in his letter to the CM.
Cong leader's request draws flak
The senior Congress leader's request drew criticism from many users, the opposition as well as some leaders within the same party.
"The Muslims have lent their support to the lockdown, lakhs of mosques are closed across the country, religious heads have advised to not allow public prayers this EID, what authority does CM Ibrahim have to speak on behalf of the entire community? This is just an attempt to gain attention. His opinion is not a reflection on the Congress party or the Muslim community," Rizwan Arshad, Congress MLA said in a statement.
With opposing views from within the party, CM Ibrahim's request did not draw any less flak from others. A lot of users schooled the Congress leader on how his remarks were senseless.
Ibrahim, however, defended his actions, saying: "Modiji himself has said and even WHO has said we have to live with coronavirus. Alcohol shops are opened. The market is open. Train services have started. Then what is wrong in what I have asked. I have written a letter to the CM. I have advised seeking a medical opinion. If health experts agree, then allow it. Otherwise, we are willing to obey whatever they say."
Restrictions on mass gatherings
Eid ul-Fitr, following the completion of Ramadan, is to be celebrated on May 24 or May 25. It is one of the two main festivals in the Islamic calendar, wherein Muslims gather in open grounds and mosques to offer special prayers. But due to the lockdown restrictions, all mass gatherings have been canceled, which naturally doesn't permit the gathering for Eid prayers. Owing to the current circumstances, Saudi Arabia has decided to impose a nation-wide curfew on Eid and also restricted entry into Mecca, the holiest Islamic site.
Ever since the lockdown has been announced in India in March, all religious places, including mosques, temples, and churches have been closed for believers. People are requested to offer prayers at home. Even major celebrations such as Holi events, Poonam etc. were canceled in view of coronavirus.