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Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk

An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.
While censuring negligence of the "public" for "a large number of deaths and chaotic situations" during the second wave, it admits, "There was negligence on the part of the public in following the Covid appropriate behaviour and we failed to stop religious and political events with large crowds."

Text:

An online discussion of eleven religious leaders was organized with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under the aegis of Dharmik Jan Morcha, a joint national forum of religious leaders, and representatives of religious organizations. The central theme of the discussion was "the challenges of the Corona pandemic: Joint efforts by religious organizations and governments".
The following religious leaders participated in this discussion, – Shankaracharya Shri Omkaranand Saraswati Ji (Prayagpeeth), Peethadheesh Goswami Sushil Ji Maharaj, Galtapeethadhish Awadheshacharya Ji, Chief Granthi of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, GianiRanjit Singh Ji, Father Dr. M.D. Thomas, Acharya Vivek Muni Ji, Brahma Kumaris Sister B.K. Asha, Swami Shantatmanandji of Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vir Singh Hitkariji of Ravidasiya Dharma Sangathan, Dr. A.K. Merchant and Professor Salim Engineer of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
The discussion continued for almost 90 minutes. All the religious leaders first presented their views and suggestions. After listening to the views and suggestions of the religious leaders, the Prime Minister said that religious leaders and religious institutions should work with mutual cooperation and should also be in constant contact with their respective state governments.
He also suggested the religious leaders work to clear the confusion and hesitancy among the people about vaccination. He also called upon them to be a part of the '75 years of independence' celebrations and cooperate in it. He also called upon the religious leaders to work together for "Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat".
The main ideas and suggestions that came from the dharmacharyas and religious leaders are:
1. The government cannot face this great challenge of the Corona pandemic alone. It is important for all religious leaders, institutions and social organizations and governments to work together at every level.
2. This great challenge can be met successfully only when mutual love, goodwill and trust are strong in the country and no one feels insecure. In this regard, both the religious leaders and the government should make concerted efforts in their respective fields. Serious efforts should be undertaken to strengthen mutual love and harmony and stop those who spread hatred among the people. Religious leaders and institutions at the social level and the state and central governments at the government level must work hand in hand for this purpose.
3. There is a need to intensify the program of vaccination. The religious leaders should carry out the campaign of awareness for vaccination in the society and the government should try to ensure the availability of vaccines with great speed.
4. Taking lessons from the large loss of life during the second wave, we need to increase the government health facilities manifold, there is a need to increase the budget for health services in the budget of the state and central governments.
5. During the second wave, there were a large number of incidents of black marketing of medicines and health facilities and private hospitals taking advantage of the situation and collecting huge sums of money. Strict steps should be taken by the Central and State governments to stop this from happening again.
Dharmacharyas pointed to moral aspect of the disaster: injustice, atrocities, exploitation, violence and favouritism prevailing in society
6. During the second wave, temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, ashrams, dargahs, shrines had become the centres of social service. With the help of government resources, these places can be utilized as centers for social service on a larger scale, for this, religious leaders and governments should work together.
7. During the second wave a large number of deaths and chaotic situations came to the fore. There was negligence on the part of the public in following the Covid appropriate behaviour and we failed to stop religious and political events with large crowds. After reviewing all these aspects, necessary steps should be taken to work in a systematic and disciplined manner in future.
8. The dharmacharyas also pointed to the moral aspect of the disaster and said that one reason for the occurrence of natural disasters is the imbalance caused by the misuse of natural resources by mankind, and on the other hand the immorality, misconduct, injustice, atrocities prevailing in the society. There is also exploitation, violence and favouritism. Therefore, we should personally, collectively and at the government level, take stock of our own mistakes in an honest manner and make serious efforts to repent, seek God's forgiveness and improve ourselves. We hope that God will forgive us and bless us and give us relief from the disaster of the Corona pandemic.
9. Real situations and problems of the people come to the fore through constant discussion, dialogue and consultation between governments and the public, religious and social organizations. This initiative of the Prime Minister is welcome. It is necessary and useful for the nation to continue such initiatives.

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