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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Gujarat: Govt submits Action Taken Report; 14 religious places inspected, not open for public, HC told

The Gujarat government on Friday told the Gujarat HC that the officers and personnel of Special Operation Groups have been directed to keep a watch on religious places of importance in their jurisdictions and report violations, if any, and take necessary actions.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: April 3, 2020 11:49:44 pm
coronavirus pandemic, india lockdown, Gujarat HC, gujarat government, indian express news The Gujarat HC was hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed after the court took suo motu cognisance of the WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic.

The Gujarat government on Friday told the Gujarat High Court (HC) that it had inspected 14 religious places across the state since April 1, including three churches, seven mosques and four temples, to check if public gatherings are taking place or not. To this effect, the state submitted that their inquiry has revealed that “Aarti / Namaaz / Prayer are being held at these religious places, but they are being conducted by the administration (Mostly only Pujaari / Muezzin / Father are present), and these prayers are not open for public. However, the officers and personnel of Special Operation Groups have been directed to keep a watch on religious places of importance in their jurisdictions and report violations, if any, and take necessary actions.”

The Gujarat HC was hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed after the court took suo motu cognisance of the WHO’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Submitting its Action Taken Report (ATR) before the HC on Friday, the state government said that as of Thursday, “detailed analysis of the technical and human intelligence so far collected by Gujarat Police, presently points to the presence of total 84 Tablighi Jamaat members to have attended the Markaz from 1st March to 22nd / 23rd March.” By Friday evening, the police had found the presence of 103 such members.

Meanwhile, through a communication from the Central Intelligence Bureau, a list of 1,350 mobile numbers and details of the subscribers were shared with the Gujarat government, as these numbers were found to have been in the cell tower location of the Nizamuddin Markaz between March 14 and March 23.

Among these, 1,282 persons have been traced so far and the process to locate the remaining 68 persons is on, the state submitted on Friday.

Overall, the court expressed its satisfaction with the progress while also reminding that the state “would continue with their endeavor in the same letter and spirit to deal in the present critical condition created by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the Tablighi Jamaat because of which, the entire nation is in a state of lockdown for 21 days beginning 25th March, 2020 till 14th April, 2020.” The PIL is expected to be heard next on April 17.

Equipment availability

The state also submitted before the HC that 9,75,000 N-95 masks, 3,58,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and 1.23 crore triple layer masks are being made available.

Food for all

Chief minister Vijay Rupani on Friday announced that those covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) would also get wheat, rice and dal for free, along with salt and sugar for the month of April in view of the lockdown.

The Gujarat government had earlier in the day, submitted before the HC that Below Poverty Line, Above Poverty Line-1 and Above Poverty Line-2 card holders have now been brought at par with the category of Priority Household (PHH) beneficiaries, “whose entitlement is based on an individual card holder in a family i.e. per person, where other members are also card holders and their cumulative entitlement becomes very significant.”

Rupani said that nearly 3.40 lakh people, who hold BPL cards but do not get grains under the NFSA, would benefit from this decision.

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