Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Sunday said that some “elements” were trying to weaken the fight against the coronavirus by spreading misinformation that the state government’s move to allow conditional opening of shops was to facilitate Muslims during the month of Ramzan.
On Saturday, the state government had allowed standalone shops, except those located in containment zones, malls, shopping complexes and the ones selling tobacco products, to open with 50% staff. It had also excluded barber shops, beauty parlours, restaurants and hotels along with shops selling cold drinks.
However, on Sunday, the state government withdrew its decision and declared that the relaxations will not be applicable to four major major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot.
Appearing on a social media platform to answer certain queries late Sunday evening, Rupani said, “Today, there is a question in the minds of some people if when the lockdown is imposed in the entire country till May 3, why is the state government hastening the relaxations.”
“The state government does not want to lift the lockdown, but when those, who are earning their bread-n-butter on daily basis, are facing the situation for
more than a month, it is the duty of the state government to be concerned about them as well. It is the duty of the state government to ensure that the prevalence of coronavirus does not increase in the state. When trading is in the DNA of Gujarat, it is not affordable that the business/employment is shut for more than a month. The Union government had, through a notification, informed that small traders can do their business. And accordingly Gujarat government has decided to implement the same,” said Rupani.
However, since Saturday the state government started receiving calls from businessmen demanding that the lockdown should be continued in the cities when only six days were left, the CM added. And so, he said, the state government decided not to relax lockdown in the four major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot especially when 80% of the total cases in the state were from those four cities.
“Some people are also raising questions if we relaxed lockdown norms to facilitate Muslims in the month of Ramzan. Friends, this is a fight against coronavirus and politics in that too? Some elements are trying to weaken the fight (against coronavirus) by spreading misinformation. But they will not succeed. For us, the safety of 6.5 crore Gujaratis is the only target. For us, there is no discrimination between Hindu-Muslim-Sikh-Isai… So, I pity those people who do not leave a chance to do politics by such illogical talks; at a time when entire human race is facing a crisis,” Rupani said.
Rupani further said that the areas from where maximum positive cases came and where curfew was imposed are Muslim dominated. He stated that since those areas were falling under containment zones, the norm of relaxation in lockdown would not have applied to them.
“So, I pity those people who do not leave a chance to do politics at a time when the entire human race is facing a crisis,” Rupani said.
Speaking on some other aspects of the COVID-19 in Gujarat, Rupani said that the recovery ratio of patients in the state is around 60%.