Seeking to strictly implement lockdown rules during the holy month of Ramzan, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday (April 16) said mosques in the state cannot prepare gruel from the rice allotted by it as is the case, but distribute it among the deserving Muslim beneficiaries.
Unlike the previous years, the gruel cannot be prepared in mosques owing to the lockdown rules imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus, even as places of religious worship have been shut as part of the country’s fight against COVID-19.
The late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, during her tenure, had introduced the scheme of providing free rice to mosques for preparing gruel consumed to break the Ramzan fast.
Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam chaired a meeting with respective Islamic clerics in this connection, an official release here said.
It said the Tamil Nadu Waqf Board has directed that prayers and breaking of fast should be avoided in mosques, dargahs, and imambaras.
Every year, 5,450 tonnes of rice is supplied to mosques and dargahs to prepare the gruel to be distributed among the poor, it said.
However, this time, the said quantity rice will be sent to 2,895 mosques by April 19 and the functionaries there can distribute it among deserving Muslim beneficiaries with the help of volunteers before April 22, the release said.
“It is being clarified that preparation of the gruel in mosques this year is banned to contain the spread of coronavirus,” it added.
The Ramzan month will start by April 23/24, the release added.