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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Thousands flock to Muslim cleric’s funeral in Badaun, UP in violation of Covid protocol

Qazi of Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh Abdul Hameed Mohammad Salimul Qadri (Salim Mian, 65) died in the early hours of Sunday. After the death of the Qazi (magistrate or judge of an Islamic Sharia court.), a huge crowd thronged in violation of the Corona protocol for his funeral procession.

What followed is nothing but Covid horror as thousands of Muslims poured into the streets. The crowds arrived at the local mosque where the body was kept for public viewing. There was also a ruckus among the followers of the Islamic cleric over who takes his body for the funeral. The Uttar Pradesh police and district administration failed to take any action against the crowd. Those who came neither had masks nor did they observe social distancing. Now it’s feared that the chances of this incident being a super spreader are pretty high.

UP is under curfew till the 17th of May and government orders clearly state that only 20 can attend a funeral. Repeat offenders can be fined up to Rs.10000 for not wearing masks. Badaun Superintendent of Police Sankalp Sharma’s claims of a whole team of his watching the videos to find out the law-breakers and then punishing them sounds practically impossible. Additional Superintendent of Police, Pravin Chauhan, admitted that since it was a religious matter and a funeral the police maintained ‘restraint’.

The Kotwali Station police officer said that the mosque announced to avoid gathering. This sounded like an attempt at whitewashing the crimes. Why did they keep the body for public viewing? Where were the cops and shouldn’t they have begun sending back people when the first trickle started? It looks like they let it slide.

This happened at a time when Covid cases are on the way down in UP and the government is trying its best to prioritize the safety of its citizens from the deadly virus. Whatever gains were achieved in reducing the test positivity rate during the past few days, might well be lost with this single incident.

Why would anyone risk it all and join such processions and then carry the virus home to his family and kids is beyond reason. Why do taxpayers have to pay for the treatment of the sick as and when they fall ill and what about the doctors who have to actually take care of such people? 

No arrests have been made till now.

Similar crowds were seen a few days back in Rajasthan at the funeral of Muslim religious leader Ghazi Faqir, father of Pokhran Congress MLA and state cabinet minister Saleh Mohammed. As per reports, Saleh attended the burial despite being Coronavirus-positive.

No one appears to have been arrested or penalized there either, despite Rajasthan being in lockdown at the time of that funeral.

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