Gujarat bans use of loudspeakers during lockdown

Gujarat govt bans use of loudspeakers during coronavirus lockdown

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The Gujarat government on Monday issued orders banning the use of loudspeakers at religious places and prohibited gathering of all kinds till May 3, the last day of the second phase of lockdown.

The government said that these restrictions will be followed strictly in the coming days of festivity and it will not be lifted until further orders from the central government.

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The circular issued by home department mentions central government's decision prohibiting all activities barring essential services till May 3 in the country that includes all "social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious/function/other gatherings."

Gujarat is the second-worst affected state after Maharashtra with 3,548 positive cases and 162 deaths. The circular stated, "All kinds of public religious activities/puja, bandgi (both meaning worship in Hindi and Urdu) or any such activities that lead to the assembly of people is not permitted and use of loudspeakers or any other medium for these purposes is  banned."

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The new order comes a day after Chief Minister Vijay Rupani claimed in his speech that certain elements were trying to spread misinformation regarding conditional relaxation being extended to small shops to reopen in the state to facilitate Muslims observing Ramzan.

The circular also comes days after a group of Muslims leaders from Amreli district was denied use of loudspeakers at the mosque for announcing morning sehri and evening iftari calls. About a dozen mosques in the district were locked a month back following the announcement of lockdown. With the beginning of Ramzan, they approached District Superintendent of Police Nirlipt Rai for permission to use loudspeakers but he denied.

When contacted Rai confirmed to DH, "State government's previous order is very much clear that use of anything that can cause gathering of people is prohibited. The loudspeaker is one of them. And, it is not just about the mosque, the order restricts its use across religion or any activity