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Bihar police allows lockdown relaxation during Ramzan

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8:29 am IST

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Bihar

Members of the minority community in the border district of Sitamarhi in Bihar will not face any problems in observing Ramzan in the time of lockdown. This assurance has been given by the district Superintendent of Police (SP), who, in an official communication to Station House Officers of police stations and outposts in the district, has asked his subordinates not to “harass” (pareshan) anyone who leave their homes to shop on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. The SP, in effect, asked his men to let all those who are fasting to break physical distancing norms in his district—in effect violate all the norms that have been put in place across the country in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The official communication by the SP, which was sent on 24 April to all police station in-charges of the district, said that special care should be taken to make sure that no one observing the “roza”, or fasting, was harassed. The SP, to emphasise his point and to make sure that there was no ambiguity in his order, said: “Eid-ul-fitra will be celebrated by Muslim community members on 24 May. It is possible that, on this occasion, Muslim community members will come out to do shopping. Hence it is thereby instructed to all police station in-charges that no uncivilized behaviour or unnecessary force will be used against any citizen, in any circumstances without questioning first (24 April ko Muslim samuday ke logo dwara Eid-ul-Fitra parv manaya jayega. Ukt awsar pe sambavh hai ki kal se kharid-bikri hetu Muslim samuday ke log bahar ayenge. Atah sabhi thanadhyakh ko nirdeshit kiya jaata hai ki kisi bhee nagrik ko, kisi bhee stithi mai, bina puchtaach kiye huey, unawayask balpurwak prayog tatha abadhra vyawahar nahee karenge).” The Daily Guardian reached out to SP Anil Kumar, who had joined the district in March last year, for an official response on why the state police was promoting a relaxation of physical distancing norms, but Kumar chose not to respond to our calls and SMS. This newspaper spoke to one of the SHOs of the district who confirmed that the members of the minority community who were coming out to do shopping and for other valid facing any difficulties. The Home Department of Bihar is led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is ruling the state in an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. A senior BJP leader told The Daily Guardian over phone from Sitamarhi that the relaxation given to the members of a particular community was against the spirit of the lockdown. The BJP leader claimed that during Ram Navami, which was in the first week of this month, lockdown restrictions were strictly enforced and no liberty was allowed to the devotees. Ram Navami is considered a big festival for the residents of Sitamarhi, as Punaura Dham in Sitamarhi is considered to be the birthplace of Sita, the wife of Ram. Senior BJP leader and national vice president Prabhat Jha is trying to develop the site on the lines of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.