Violating lockdown, 60 people attended Friday prayers at Hooghly's Taldanga mosque on West Bengal. Sources report that police had warned the mosque's Imam to instruct devotees to refrain from gathering at the mosque, but attendees- including elderly and children, were seen offering Friday prayers. Sources add that the police have rushed to the area to vacate it.
A week ago, a similar incident had occurred in the Murshidabad district. Sources report that hundreds of had gathered for Friday prayers at the Gopi Nagar masjid in Murshidabad on April 10, flouting lockdown. Police had immediately rushed to the area and evacuated the gathering, noting that none of the attendees were wearing masks. Reports state that CM Mamata Banerjee has taken cognizance of the repeated violations in that district and has directed the Murshidabad DIG to stop such gatherings.
Soon after the Murshidabad incident, the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 12, highlighted that the lockdown guidelines were being violated in several parts of the state - highlighting the Murshidabad incident. The earlier letter written on April 10 said that the West Bengal government had allowed more exemptions leading to a gradual dilution of the lockdown. Additionally, the West Bengal administration was accused of allowing religious congregations and distribution of free ration by politicians. Lashing out at the Centre, WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that Delhi was preoccupied with the "communal virus" even in the midst of a pandemic.
On Saturday, the West Bengal government declared that the lockdown would be extended till April 30 and all educational institutions would be closed till June 10. No one will be able to step out of their homes in 10 hotspots from where several COVID-19 cases have been reported. Earlier in the day, wearing face masks or any available cloth to cover nose and mouth was made compulsory in West Bengal. The state's COVID-19 tally stands at 287, with 10 deaths.