19:37 GMT13 April 2021
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    Muslims worldwide fast during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is regarded as one of the holiest months. In India, if the moon is sighted on 12 April, then Ramadan will begin from 13 April.

    Muslim leaders in India have urged Maharashtra State Chief Uddhav Thackeray to relax coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions in the state for their month of fasting.

    A day after meeting with government officials on Tuesday evening, the Raza Academy, an organisation of Sufi Muslims that promotes Islamic beliefs through publications and research, wrote to State Chief Thackeray, to seek relaxations during Ramadan celebrations.

    In 2020, when the pandemic struck the country, several Muslim organisations had requested to be allowed to congregate for Iftar (the meal served at the end of the day during Ramadan) to break the day's fast and engage in other religious functions. However, the request was turned down due to the lockdown. 

    Similarly this year, on 4 April, the Maharashtra government has imposed a fresh set of curbs comprising a weekend lockdown and a night curfew on weekdays to stem the surge in coronavirus cases in the state.

    All non-essential shops, markets, and malls have been asked to remain closed until 30 April. The state has already ordered that religious functions be scaled down.

    According to the Indian Health and Family Welfare Ministry, India recorded its highest-ever single-day surge on Tuesday, when 115,736 new cases were reported. Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country, has recorded 55,469 cases in the past 24 hours.

    Maharashtra's former state Chief and opposition leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party Devendra Fadnavis has appealed to Thackeray to reconsider restrictions after the Federations of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM), an umbrella body of more than 750 traders associations, presented an ultimatum to the state to withdraw the shutdown.

    FAM has demanded that the state government open non-essential services as well.

     

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    chief, State, traders, religious ritual, pandemic, relaxation, Ramadan, Maharashtra, coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown, Muslims, India
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