Maharashtra: Muslims in Ichalkaranji town of Maharashtra, earned heaps of praises from Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackrey as they celebrated Eid festival by donating a 10-bedded ICU to the local government hospital with the help of money collected through Zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax. The move as reported, is aimed at contributing to the state’s efforts to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muslims reportedly collected charity worth Rs. 36 lac and donated a 10-bedded, well-equipped ICU to the Indira Gandhi Memorial (IGM) Civil Hospital in the town. The ICU is reportedly now ready to facilitate the fight against the spread of Corona Virus.

Even as Maharashtra is one of the worst hit states by COVID-19 in India, the town of Ichalkaranji has seen comparatively lesser number of cases, but the fear of spike in number of cases looms large. The town according to the 2011 census has a population of 2.88 lac people with 78.32% Hindu population and 15.98% Muslim population among others.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday inaugurated the ICU facility. Applauding the initiative, he said via video conference, “Muslims in Ichalkaranji have shown the way for everyone in the country. Till now, we have controlled the spread of coronavirus with courage and patience. Henceforth, public participation (to fight the pandemic) is necessary. The Muslim community has set an example on how to celebrate a festival.”

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday observed that no student above the age of 18 years, teachers, and staff can be allowed to attend schools and colleges unless they have received at least one jab of the COVID vaccine.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum was hearing a PIL filed by Mangaluru doctor Srinivas B Kakkilaya and others. The bench dismissed the PIL and said at least one dose of the COVID vaccine should be mandatorily taken by those attending schools and colleges.

The PIL had claimed that the circular issued by the state government on July 16, 2021, making vaccination mandatory in nature was in violation of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

It had also added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has maintained that the vaccination does not prevent the spread of the virus hence has little potential of stopping the pandemic.

According to the petitioners, such discrimination based on unreasonable classification, such as status of vaccination of an individual, is curbing the rights to practice any profession. The petitioners further claimed that the circular violates the dictum of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Vs Union of India (2018) case which recognized the right, choice, and liberty of an individual to prefer the medicine of his/ her choice.

“We are of the considered view that no student, teacher or staff who have not received vaccines shall be permitted to attend the school or college, where the students gather in large numbers and risk them. As such no directions can be issued to permit such teachers, students, or staff who have not received at least one dose of vaccine to attend colleges in terms GO dated July 16, 2021,” the court said.